Top 5 Surf Photography Tips
Take to the waves this summer and follow our top 5 surf photography tips to capture excellent results!
1. Weather and wave watch
Planning ahead is key to the success of your surf photoshoot. For surf pictures you ideally need three things: good waves, good weather, and a good surfer or two! Check out www.magicseaweed.com as it gives the best indication, telling you wind strength and direction and swell levels. Avoid strong onshore winds as it ruins the waves, rendering them faceless and unrideable for surfers.
2. Keep dry
For shooting surfers from the beach use a long telephoto lens. If you use a Canon with a 1.6x crop factor, a 300mm has an effective focal length of 480mm; more than enough reach to fill the frame with wave action.
3. Get wet!
For close-to-the-action surfing shots, get in the water. You’ll need a waterproof housing. Affordable options include the Hama DiCAPac WP-DSLR1 around £150, which comes in one size to fit most Canon D-SLRs with wide or standard zooms. Also check out Ewa-Marine housings, around £275. When using your housing for the first time check without your camera to ensure it’s set up right and totally waterproof! Then fit your D-SLR inside and give it a rinse in shallow water and submerge to check if there are any leaks. Check seals and screws are all secure if not. With dome ports, lick (yes, lick!) the outer lens window; this stops seawater clinging to the outside and ensures it’s drip-free, to stop the splashes ruining your shots. Then you’re ready to swim out into the waves and get shooting!
4. Set the camera and focus before going in
On land take a meter reading from your hand, as it will be the same tone as the surfer, then lock the exposure in the Manual mode. In sunny conditions, use a fast exposure to keep up with the action, as well as good depth of field for sharpness across the frame. Around 1/1600 sec at f/8. Then balance the ISO. If you shoot using an ultra-wide-angle lens it means you’ll obtain lots of depth of field; even when shooting with a middle aperture of f/8. Lock the focus just inside infinity to make sure your surf shots are sharp, from the front to the back of the scene.
5. Get into position
The sea can be a busy place, with many surfers jostling for position on the best waves, or swimming out while others are riding the waves, so don’t get in the way. When shooting, try and pick out individual riders and avoid other surfers in your shots as they’ll distract from your main surfer subject and spoil your shot!
This entry was posted on Friday, June 15th, 2012 at 9:31 am and is filed under Action, Photography Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.