Surf Photography: Ultimate Guide

Looking to take your surf photography skills to the next level? This comprehensive guide covers everything from the basics of shooting in the water to advanced post-processing techniques.

With this guide, you’ll be able to capture stunning photos of the waves and the surfers riding them.

camera on tripod at beach

Surf Photography Camera Bodies

There are a few different camera bodies that are great for surf photography. Some are better than others, but all have their own benefits and drawbacks.

The first is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This camera is great because it has a full-frame sensor, which gives you a lot of detail in your photos. It also has a great autofocus system that will keep your subject in focus even in challenging conditions.

Another great option is the Nikon D810. This camera has a 36.3 megapixel sensor, which is more than enough resolution for capturing great surf photos. It also has a great autofocus system that will keep your subject in focus even in challenging conditions.

man shooting surfers from the beach with telephoto lens

Surf Photography Lenses

There are a few different things to consider when looking for a surf photography lens. Focal length, aperture, and weatherproofing are all important factors to think about.

Some great lenses to use while shooting surfers are the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens, Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens, and Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Lens. All three of these lenses offer a great range for capturing surfing photos. The 16-35mm lens offers a great wide-angle view, while the 70-200mm lens offers a great zoom for capturing photos of surfers from a distance. The 10-18mm lens is great for capturing close-ups of the action.

Surf Photography Accessories

There are a few essentials you need to take great surf photos: a camera, a surfboard, and some photography accessories. Here are the best accessories to help you take great surf photos.
### Essential Gear

  • A tripod – This will help to keep your camera steady in low light or choppy conditions.
  • A telephoto lens – A telephoto lens will help you to capture shots of surfers from a distance.
  • A camera housing – If you plan on shooting in the water, a camera housing will protect your camera from the elements.
  • A surfboard mount – A surfboard mount will allow you to attach your camera to your surfboard and capture shots of surfers from the water.

Drones for Surf Photography

Drones are becoming increasingly popular for surf photography as they offer a unique perspective that can’t be achieved with a traditional camera. To use a drone for surf photography, you will need to purchase or borrow a drone that is capable of flying in windy conditions.

You will also need to learn how to operate the drone and how to take aerial photos and videos. Once you have your drone, find a spot near the ocean where you can safely launch and land the drone. Make sure to check the weather conditions and wind speeds before flying your drone. Once you are ready to fly, use the drone to capture aerial photos and videos of surfers riding the waves. Be sure to keep the drone in a safe distance from the surfers and the waves.

Additional Accessories

Depending on your position and the weather conditions there may be a few additional items you want to have.

  • A remote shutter release
  • A polarizing filter
  • A graduated neutral density filter
  • A wet suit
  • A surfboard
  • A surf leash
  • A surf wax
  • A sun hat
  • A sunscreen

How To Shoot Surf Photography

Surfing is a sport that is enjoyed by many, and with the right photography skills, you can capture the beauty of the waves and the thrill of the sport. Capturing the perfect wave can be a difficult task for any photographer, but with the right tips and techniques, you can start snapping epic surf shots like a pro. From choosing the right location to using the right equipment, here are some tips for taking amazing surf photographs.

surfer under a wave

Photography from the Beach

Some tips on how to photograph from the beach include finding an interesting subject to photograph, using a tripod to stabilize your camera, and using a polarizing filter to reduce glare. Additionally, you can try to compose your photograph so that the horizon is not in the center of the frame.

Photography in the water

  • Use a fast shutter speed. This will help to freeze the action and capture the waves in all their glory.
  • Get close to the action. This will help to give your photos a sense of scale and drama.
  • Use a wide-angle lens. This will help to capture as much of the scene as possible.
  • Shoot in good light. This will help to ensure that your photos are well-lit and look great.

Getting Epic Shots

  • Find a spot where there is a lot of good surf. This will increase your chances of getting a good shot.
  • Get to the spot early and set up your shot. This will give you time to get the perfect angle.
  • Use a long lens to get close-ups of the surfers. This will make the shot more epic.
  • Wait for the perfect wave to come in and take your shot. This will make the photo look more dramatic.
  • Be patient and keep shooting. You may not get the perfect shot on the first try, so keep trying.

Settings to get Amazing photos

So what are the best settings? There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the specific situation and the preferences of the photographer. However, some general tips that may be useful include using a wide-angle lens, using a fast shutter speed to capture the action of the waves, and using a high aperture to create a shallow depth of field.

Surf Photography Tips

How To Keep Water Off Your Lens

One of the main problems with shooting surf photography is that water droplets can easily get onto your lens and affect your photos. There are a few things you can do to help keep your lens dry and clear:

  • Use a lens hood to help deflect water droplets
  • Use a water repellent spray to help keep water off your lens
  • Keep your lens clean and free of dirt and sand
man with waterproof camera covering

Why a dome port in surf photography

A dome port is a great tool for surf photography because it allows you to get close to the action while keeping the camera dry. It also gives you a wider field of view, which is great for capturing the entire wave.

man photographing surfers from the beach

Additional Tips

  • Use a camera body that is weather resistant and has a good grip. This will help to keep your camera safe in wet conditions.
  • Use a fast lens with a wide aperture to capture the action of the waves.
  • Use a tripod to keep your camera stable in windy conditions.
  • Shoot in manual mode to control the shutter speed and aperture.
  • Use a remote shutter release to avoid camera shake.
  • Shoot in RAW format to capture the most detail for later post processing.