Tips for Photographing Fiji
Fiji is beautiful… The photos don’t lie!
However, to get Fiji to look like it does to your eye in photos takes a few tips. My main objective when photographing Fiji is to make the water really pop. I want to see all the beautiful blues in the water come out just as it does when you’re standing there on the beach. Here is my guide to getting the best photos of Fiji, and there is minimal extra equipment needed.
Tip #1.) Get a Polarizer
A polarizing filter for DSLR’s simply screws onto the front of your lens. You might even have one with your camera kit. This is the most critical piece of equipment for getting beautiful colors from the water into you photos. The filter works similar to polarizing sunglasses, it blocks the light reflecting off the surface or the water allowing us to ‘see into the water’. The most common and useful polarizing filter is what is called a circular polarizer, or CL or CLP for short. The installation is simple, most filters screw onto the inner portion of the front of your camera lenses. If you need to buy one take a look at your lens and it should read in millimeters what the diameter is. Head over to Amazon and buy one the corresponds to the size of the lenses you have (each lens will need it’s own unless you have multiple lenses with the same diameter). I have a Bower and have been happy with it so far, but look at the reviews and try not to get the very cheapest one (good ones are just a little bit more).
Once the filter is on, make sure you know how to use it. When you screw the filter on it will hit a point where it stops. Once this happens it will be secure on the lens, but the front piece of the CPL will still spin. The front piece is what you will use to filter out the reflections on top of the water to really make it pop! Rotate the front piece and watch the colors darken and lighten back up. Most times I will leave it at the point where I get the most contrast, 90 degrees from that will be the least contrast and look very similar to a not polarized shot. It is variable to accommodate holding your camera at different angles and for flexibility in the intensity of the effect. When using the filter leave it to what ever looks truest to your eye, or whatever is your preference. In addition to improving the look of the water this also works well to brighten your skies and crisp up the clouds.
Tip #2.) Shoot at mid-day
Reflections on top of the water are your biggest enemy, taking photos around mid-day when the sun is beaming straight down and will illuminate the water the best. Toward sunset, the sun will not get all the colors of the water to pop as it does during mid-day.
Tip 3.) Get High
I am not talking about drugs here, but I would imagine you would see more colors that way too. Again to minimize the reflections you and your camera will see, get high above the water. Most islands in Fiji have a large hill or peak, climb to the top and look down at the water. You will be surprised by all the different color blues that you see from up high.
Or take it to the next level and get into a plane. Fiji is absolutely beautiful from the window of a sea plane. We rode back to Nadi airport in the sky rather than the sea. It was somewhat more expensive, but some of the best money I spent in Fiji. Absolutely stunning!
Tip #4.) Practice before you go
Make sure you know how to work your camera, try out the polarizer on some clouds back home. Learn the different settings and know how they will affect your pictures so you won’t be disappointed when you get back from Fiji. The flight to Fiji is a long one from most places in the world, brush up on your manual on the plane. Another thing I like to do on a long plane ride is to download some YouTube tutorials onto my phone. There are lots of tutorials on the web cover just about every camera, or try some on photography in general and watch them as you fly to paradise.
Last tip, pack a big memory card, a backup card, and take lots of pictures. Oh and a second battery is always a life saver!
Keep snappin’ shots, if you have any good Fiji shots post the link in the comments, we’d love to see em’ don’t forget to tell us a bit about them too.