Phuket wedding packages generally come with an experienced photographer to help you immortalise the experience, though you may have friends in your wedding party who are keen to take a few photos, too. It would be a shame to waste such a fantastic setting as a Phuket beach, so we’ve gathered a few technical tips to help photographers (and photographically inclined guests) get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Learn to use the histogram
One of the challenges with beach photography in a sunny setting like Phuket is the overabundance of light. With the glaring sun reflecting off the white sands, the camera’s light meter can be overwhelmed and it will try to compensate by underexposing. The best way to fix this is to use the histogram as a guide when exposing your photos, making them appear dark and grey. Make sure the huge peak in the histogram is to the right of the graph, which will give you the proper exposure. This is easily achieved with the manual or exposure bias settings. It may look like you’re overexposing, but you’re actually capturing the reality of the scene.
Part of the joy of Phuket wedding packages is the dynamic beach setting. The sight and sound of the waves swishing against the shore, couples with the tang of the sea breeze, makes it a unique and exciting situation beyond the limits of any normal church ceremony. Look out for footprints in the sand, seabirds playing in the breeze or dogs taking a run on the beach to add a sense of action to the scene. You could also break the active space rule – frame the shot so that your subject is stepping out of the shot, rather than into it, to give the sense of moving forward into the future.
Don’t break the Sunny f/16 rule
In contrast to breaking the rules of framing, it’s ill-advised to break the “Sunny f/16” rule. It’s an old standard, but remains as relevant and effective as the rule of thirds. In manual or aperture priority mode, set your aperture to f/16 to restrict the amount of that harsh sunlight getting through your lens. Instead, use the shutter speed and ISO to adapt to the changing light for each shot. This will help to reduce the risk of the light meter getting overwhelmed and will mean you don’t have to fiddle with histograms so much. While it can restrict your use of creative techniques like bokeh, you’ll at least get a good, properly exposed shot almost every time.
You can have a lot of fun with creative silhouettes, particularly with the distinctive outline of a wedding dress. Shooting against the setting sun not only gives you a natural backlight to help create the effect, but you also get a fantastic backdrop without having to do any work in Photoshop. Phuket beach weddings are particularly convenient for this as almost all of the best beaches on the island face west – towards the setting sun. Surin, Kamala, Patong, Kata, Karon, Mai Khao and a number of other, smaller beaches are all ideal for the purpose.
Keep your camera safe
While the photographers who come with Phuket wedding packages are used to working on the sandy shoreline, guests might not realise just hazardous the environment is to their gear. The humid climate can encourage the rapid growth of mould within your lenses, the sand can scratch delicate glass and the salty air can cause corrosion. And let’s not even consider the risks of dropping expensive electrical gear into the sea! Where possible, you should keep your camera in a humidor, secure delicate items in zip lock bags, avoid changing lenses wherever possible and, most importantly, never put your camera down directly on the sand.