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.
Tips for Beach Photography – Article and Front Cover for the Cook Islands SunPosted on
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Maori woman wearing a lei (string of flowers) at Rarotonga Saturday Market (Punanga Nui Market)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!