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Tutorial for Shooting Seascapes

Seascape images can easily attract someone. These are considered to be the subset of landscape photography but have their, own specific shooting style and techniques. The seascape images generally involve creativity from the shooter and thus are much beautiful and breathtaking. Well for all those who are unaware of various seascapes shooting techniques here is a tutorial for the same:

  • Safety: shooting in the sea areas can be dangerous and requires proper safety equipment needed for such conditions. Always be aware of your surroundings, check whether there is any wave coming towards you. If you are shooting in a far located island do not forget to take proper navigation tools with you and also inform some of your known ones so that if you are in trouble they can reach there for help. Always try to pair with any other photographer while shooting in such conditions as one can help the other if needed.
Image Courtesy:  Gareth Thompson

Image Courtesy: Gareth Thompson

  • Location: while selecting seascapes location you have to check three factors:
    1. Tide: most of the coastal areas have a particular tide table or chart that you can Google out before going to. This is critically important as you may get struck at any location and no help would be available there, so it’s highly advised to check the tide chart of the location you are going at. It is also necessary because during a high tide water movement is less and hence you can’t get expected shots. Consulting a local native of the area for tidal information can also be useful.
    2. Weather: while being at coastal areas one can never be sure about the weather over there it can change within a second. Storms are very common in such areas and are extremely dangerous if you get struck in it. You need to check the weather forecasting just before your shooting session and even during it. Disturbing weathers creates disturbances while shooting. Several apps on you cell phone allows you to keep a live track on the weather.
    3. Location: choosing a location is always confusing for everyone. First decide what you want to shoot beach, rocks, or the elevated cliff and then take your accessories according to it. Also check the lightning situation as where the sun is setting and then position yourself to that point where you won’t range in the shadow. Before starting the shoot take a thorough look into your surrounding and check whether the conditions are suitable or not.
    4. Lightning: nobody would like to carry a headlamp or a flashlight while walking on the beach in warm sunlight. But you may have to be at the same location for a longer time when the lightning is not perfect and you might have trouble finding your way back and the troubling weather may add another barrier in you path. So it is advised to carry useful lightning equipments while shooting seascapes.
Image Courtesy:  Gemma Stiles

Image Courtesy: Gemma Stiles

Camera adjustments:

Shutter speed: while shooting seascapes you’ll have two choices either you can blur the water’s movement or you can freeze the wave’s movement. What I personally recommend is that if you are shooting scenes where water is rolling over rocks in the foreground you should blur the water. This will bring a sliky effect to the waters movement and create a sensual image. For slowing water you can use a ND filter as it will increase the exposure time. For freezing the water’s action you must shoot at a higher shutter speed greater than 1/1000.

Aperture: while shooting seascapes you’ll need to keep everything in focus. As discussed earlier seascapes is a matter of detail so if you want to keep everything detailed you’ll have to shoot at an aperture of f/8 or smaller. It will slow down the shutter speed and will capture more details and some soft water scenes.

Color scheme: once you take a look into your surrounding you’ll come to know that seascapes are something that looks stunning in both colour and black and white. So it is recommended that you must shoot images in colour mode and then convert them into black and white (if you wish) this way you’ll have both natural color image as well as black and white image too. But if you shoot in black and white there is no chance to create a custom naturalistic coloured image with the help of any other post processing tool.

Tripod: a tripod is must needed equipment while shooting seascapes. Once the sun sets you’ll have to shoot in the poor lightning conditions where it’s near to impossible for you to hold the camera exact still. Hence the movement in your camera will create image blur as a result of which your headwork will be wasted. So it’s necessary for you to use a tripod in order to shoot sharp images and clouds. While placing your tripod in such environment be careful, before leaving your tripod stable double check that it is placed accurately on the surface and will not fall once you leave it. Also check your images once you shoot them to check whether the images are sharp or not.

Image Courtesy:  Tony Fischer

Image Courtesy: Tony Fischer

Image Caption:  Domenico / Kiuz

Image Caption: Domenico / Kiuz

Image Courtesy;  larbelaitz

Image Courtesy: larbelaitz

Subject matter: while shooting seascapes, you’ll need not to search the subjects as they’ll be already present there in a number. Here are the most common and fun to shoot subjects list:

  • Lighthouses: most common and most preferred. Try to shoot them when the light fist comes from them (early evening).
  • Rocky outcrops: movement of water and rocky seashores are all time favourites.
  • Multiple colours: you can capture the warm colour of the sky and the blue coloured water at the same time, if you expose correctly.
  • Storms: shooting a storm is risky and tricky but if you succeed you’ll end up with some great shots.

Keep practicing and sending us your shots.

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