Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Tropical beach with palm trees at sunrise Rarotonga Cook Islands 2
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Tips for Beach Photography – Article and Front Cover for the Cook Islands Sun

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It’s always fun to have photography articles published! While I was on a luxury accommodation photography commission for two swanky villas in the Cook Islands (Rumours Luxury Resort and Royale Takitumu), I also touched base with the editor of the Cook Islands Sun. He asked me to capture a front cover image, and write an article about how visitors to the Island of Rarotonga could get the most out of their photography on the island! I thought I would share it with you too as the advice is relevant to anywhere really…especially if you’re joining me on one of my photography holidays such as Madagascar, Costa Rica or Romania.

Cook Islands 10 tips on how to take amazing photos of the Cook Islands Tearsheet

Tearsheet from photography article on 10 tips on how to take amazing photos of the Cook Islands


1. Sunrise Walks

If you want to capture that killer landscape photo, you are going to require an early start! Look out for interesting foregrounds like pools of water, the shoreline or patterns in the sand at Muri, such as in this photo. These objects will pick up the beautiful golden morning sunlight and add depth in the photo.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Sunrise at Muri Beach and tropical Motu Taakoka Island Rarotonga Cook Islands

Motu Taakoka Island seen from Muri Beach at sunrise


2. Focus on the Details

In contrast to the previous point, don’t forget about the little thing in life too. Isolate the small, unique elements that shed more light on the personality of the destination. Think palm-tree leaves, coconuts, food, signposts, items for sale and flower necklaces (Eis). Try Punanga Nui Market on Saturday mornings.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Coconut on a tropical beach at sunset Rarotonga Island Cook Islands 2

Coconut on Muri beach at sunset, Rarotonga Island


3. Panoramic Photography

Travel photography paints a photographic portrait of a destination. It tells a story. One key element in story-telling is setting the scene, and panoramic photography is perfect for this. My one piece of advice is not to include too much in the panorama. Keep the composition simple and free of clutter.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Tropical beach with palm trees at sunrise Rarotonga Cook Islands

Tropical beach with palm trees at sunrise, Rarotonga


4. Colours & Patterns

Photographing colours and patterns, in part, follows on from the point about focusing on the details. It requires a similar mindset of looking for eye-catching elements within a larger scene. This time however, think ‘abstract’. I took this photo because of the four lines of subtle, complimentary colours.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Cook Islands colours abstract taken on Rarotonga Cook Islands background with copy space

Cook Islands abstract


5. Talk to People!

It is hard to capture the personality and spirit of a destination without meeting and photographing its people. Punanga Nui Market is a great place to meet locals and capture some great portraits. Have a fun chat first and your subject will be more relaxed when it comes to asking to take their portrait.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Maori woman wearing a lei string of flowers at Rarotonga Saturday Market Punanga Nui Market Avarua Town Cook Islands

Maori woman wearing a lei (string of flowers) at Rarotonga Saturday Market (Punanga Nui Market)


6. Underwater

The clear lagoon waters are one aspect that makes Rarotonga a perfect beach holiday destination. Underwater photography doesn’t need to be expensive. Waterproof cases for cameras or smartphones can be bought for around NZD$40 – a fun addition to your holiday photos!

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Tropical Island of Motu Taakoka covered in Palm Trees in Muri Lagoon Rarotonga Cook Islands 2

Underwater photo of Muri Lagoon and Motu Taakoka Island, Rarotonga


7. Reinvent the selfie

Who made the rule that a selfie should always be of your face? Reinvent the selfie. Zoom out to as wide as possible and photograph your feet, legs, hands or arms. Your friends and family at home will feel like they were right there with you, kayaking in the crystal clear waters of Muri Lagoon at sunrise.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Kayaking at sunrise in Muri Lagoon Rarotonga Cook Islands Pacific Islands

Sunrise kayaking in Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga


8. Accommodation – Bring the Outside Inside

Staying in beachfront accommodation is part of what makes the Cook Islands experience so special. Having views of the turquoise Pacific Ocean from your bedroom is something you will never want to forget. So, bring the outside in by including some of the property in foreground of your photographs.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Luxury beachfront villa accommodation with sea views with champagne on a table next to tropical palm trees and the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean

Beach front balcony, Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa, Rarotonga


9. Experiential Imagery

Experiential imagery is great for two reasons. In the ‘reinvent the selfie’ tip 7, it makes the viewer feel like they are a part of the scene. Also, if you want to sell your photos, experiential imagery is in high demand. Ask you partner to act as a model, or borrow people walking along the beach as with this photo below.

Cook Islands Landscape Travel Photography Walking along a tropical beach at sunset Rarotonga Cook Islands

Walking along a tropical beach at sunset, Rarotonga, Cook Islands


10. Flying home

On daylight flights, this is a fantastic opportunity to get some beautiful photos, especially if you have a well-positioned seat! The daylight flights in and out of Rarotonga are particularly spectacular, often enabling you to see the whole of the island in one view.

So, take these photography tips on your next holiday and good luck!

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If you are interested in joining a photography workshop or holiday, commissioning me for an upcoming project, licensing photos or absolutely anything at all, I would love to hear from you!

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07795 226156
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