The Maldives are ridiculously beautiful, so it shouldn’t be rocket science to take amazing Maldives pictures, should it? True, you could probably take a pretty good photo in the Maldives with your eyes closed. However, with a couple of tips, you can take absolutely amazing Maldives pictures. #1 tip bring a drone, read my best drones for traveling guide here.
Maldives Pictures Guide
Use a polarizing Filter You wouldn’t walk outside in the Maldives without sunglasses, would you? A polarizing filter is the same as polarized sunglasses for your camera. A polarizing filter blocks out light reflections on the surface of the water. Reducing reflections allows the true colors of the water come out and show up in your pictures. If you have a drone an ND filter is a must in the Maldives.
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Shoot at midday for the best watercolor If you are trying to capture the best watercolors from the Maldives then you need to shoot at midday. Normally the middle of the day is the worst time to take photos because the bright light can cause a lot of over bright spots and dark shadows. However, in the Maldives, this is when the sun lighting up the watercolor the best. The sun reflects off the white sand bottom and lights up the water with intense aquas, turquoise, and blues. Late in the day, although better for skin tones in photos, the sun is not strong enough and at too much of an angle to light up the water as nice.
Keep your camera in the Bathroom Ummm… excuse me, what? Trust me there is a real reason to keep your camera in the bathroom while in the Maldives. The air in the Maldives is typically extremely humid and the temps very hot. Just wait, this will all make sense in a minute. Since it’s so hot and humid you’ll probably be running in AC in your room 24/7, right? Well, if you keep your camera in the cold dry AC room all the time, as soon as you bring it outside your lens will instantly fog up. What’s worse your camera’s sensor can also fog up. If it’s bad enough or your camera is very cold it can leave spots on the sensor that you’ll need to get professionally cleaned. Okay, so why the bathroom you ask? Generally (but not always), the bathrooms are not air-conditioned and will be similar temps and humidity as the outside. If there’s no difference in temperature/humidity then there’s no fogging. No waiting for your lens to clear and no issues with the sensor.
Keep your back to the sun When you are taking photos in the mornings or afternoons pay attention to where the sun is in relationship to your subject. A good rule of thumb is to always keep the sun at your back. This will do two things, it will make sure whatever you are taking a picture of is well lit from the sun, and it will keep the sun from reflecting on the water and bouncing back at your camera. If the sun is in front of you the water instead of being a nice shade of blue will be very white from the reflections from the sun.
A some foreground As stunning as the water is, a picture of just the water doesn’t make for the same envy-generating Facebook posts as it would is there was more to the photo. Add a palm tree, an over the water bungalow, add anything that says “I’m in the fricken Maldives!”.
Wear contrasting colors For some truly eye-catching photos add some bright colored clothing for shots with people. The further on the color spectrum they are from the blues in the water the better. You can never go wrong with red, and white isn’t bad either.
Throw in some props If you have room in your bags a ridiculous floaty like a unicorn or a flamingo would make for some epic photos in the Maldives. Our bags were already too stuff for a floaty (much to Hannah’s disappointment) so we bought a rainbow umbrella which we justified because it served a practical purpose too.
Take shots that will bring you back Catch the true feeling of the place and the pictures will bring you right back to the moment even years later. Besides the stunning landscapes and out of this world watercolor, take the time to capture the details of the island you are staying at in the Maldives. Take photos of yourselves sitting in your favorite places. Look for the little things you want to remember forever.
Add more life to a sunset shot The sunsets in the Maldives are pretty epic on their own, but if you take a picture of just the sun at sunset you don’t really get a sense of where you are or where it was taken. Add some foreground to your sunset photos in the Maldives to elevate the shot. Try to fill out your frame and include a water bungalow, a beach chair, or anything that puts the viewer in the Maldives.
If there is ever a place for drone photography, it’s the Maldives If you have been looking for an excuse to buy a drone, a trip to the Maldives would certainly be a reason. The islands and the water look insane from a drone. I could go on, but some of our favorite Maldives pictures were shot from our drone. Plus drones are getting super cheap now. You can pick up a decent quality DJI drone for only $500. We shoot with the Phantom 3 Professional which is about $1,000 USD at the time of this article, but you can get good quality with their cheaper models too. Just don’t be a douche when flying around the resorts in the Maldives. Be respectful, and keep in mind the other guests won’t be as interested in your buzzing drone as you are.
Bo @ MEXcation
Monday 17th of October 2016
Excellent walkthrough that can improve most vacation shots. The Maldives is not happening in the near future, but I will try these things out in Mexico. Riviera Maya is as close as it will get trying to find colors like that. The picture with the umbrella is great. Will try something with strong colors for contrast.
Carrick | Along for the Trip
Friday 30th of September 2016
Great guide (as always) and fabulous photos. We're heading to Hawaii in a few weeks and so I'll be able to put your tips into practice with a polarizing filter. Where are you guys headed next?