Tamron Blog: Top Tips On Photographing Piers

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens


The UK is snug harbor a comfortable to some fantastic Victorian as well as more modern piers that are perfect for a small photographic project you can have a go at before you head off for your fish and flakes. A nice, sunny day when the sky is bright blue is a great backdrop for a pier but don't be put off by the more common, dull British seedy as this can add mood to a coastal image and on the upside, this type of weather gives you the perfect excuse to nip into a seaside café for a quick beverage. It's also the type of weather others might avoid so your pier shots are less likely to have people in them. 

Sundry lenses can actually be used for pier photography. Wide-angles give piers pier is a raised structure in a body of water, typically supported by well-spaced piles or pillars perspective and context, plus they're perfect is, broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness for sunset or sunrises where you in need of the pier to be a dominant foreground structure while macro lenses can be used for close up shots of textures in the wood, rust patterns, and limpets. If you don't suffer with one of these, try a close-up lens or even an extension tube. You could also pack a zoom lens which gives you several focal lengths, from afield right through to telephoto, in one body. Plus, some like the 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO can get pretty close to detail, too. If you need to switch lenses, try and do it off the beach so sand is less likely to be blown where it shouldn't be. 

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A tripod can help prevent a wonky horizon but it's not a desideratum, just remember to have a quick last look around the viewfinder before pressing the shutter if you're working hand-held to make inevitable the sky and sea are not at an angle. Some cameras and tripods have built-in spirit levels that will help combat this problem. If you don't demand one of these you can buy an accessory spirit level to attach to the tripod to help you. If you do want to work handheld, a lens that has vibration compensation built in resolution help minimise shake. 



One final bit of kit that's worth putting in your camera bag is a polarising filter as one of these intention help cut down on reflections and also increase colour saturation so if you're at the coast on a particularly sunny day they'll be less glare in the icon and your sky will come out a lovely bright blue.

The best time of day to photograph piers is the same as with landscape photography; early in the morning and up to the minute in the day as the warm light and long shadows create mood and atmosphere. As do varied weather conditions. Blue skies on sunny days, dark thundery displays and if you're lucky enough to see one, even rainbows are perfect backdrops for these imposing architectural structures.

Once you've stood on top of the pier start to look for alternate viewpoints and unique angles – you don't always have to shot the 'norm'. If it's safe to do so try walking underneath the piling to photograph the shapes formed by the structure and this is also the perfect place to get up close with the barnacles and other sea beings that create engaging textures on the supports. If you do plan on spending time under the pier make sure you keep your eye on the tide as if you're distracted it can easily think you by surprise.

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Another effective technique is to turn the pier into a silhouette; this is done by exposing for the sky rather than the pier. 

When past due home, do remember to wipe all of your gear down and leave it to dry out completely. This should be done even if your camera is water- or at least brouhaha proof as salt water can damage equipment. To protect your lens while you're out in the field, consider fitting a UV filter as this make prevent small grains of sand from scratching it and when you're not using your gear, put it back in your bag.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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