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How to Capture Gorgeous Seascapes

May 14, 2017

From dramatic skies to jeweled water and crashing waves, seascape photography is a widely-celebrated medium due to the gorgeous results it produces when captured correctly.

While photographing seascapes might seem simple enough, it really is an art form that needs to be learned over time. If you’re thinking of breaking into the medium or simply want to brush up on your skills, then we’ve got a treat for you! Today we’ll be discussing how to capture gorgeous seascapes.

How to Capture Gorgeous Seascapes

Firstly, Keep Safety in Mind

One of the most important pieces of advice professional seascape photographers offer is the fact that it can be a dangerous job, depending on where you photograph. To crate gorgeous seascapes which go above and beyond your standard postcard photo, you’ll have to seek out unique angles and shots. As a result, this may lead to you having to carefully scale down embankments, walk across slippery and wet rock platforms, or stand in positions where freak waves might wash over you.

Always put your own safety first and if possible, try to undertake your seascape photo shoots with another person present, whether it be a fellow photographer or friend. Be sure to also bring additional equipment such as headlamps or torches to ensure that you don’t get stranded on a rocky ledge once the sun goes down (because that would be less-than-ideal!).

How to Capture Gorgeous Seascapes

Focus on the Foreground

While a beautiful sky, the horizon, and ocean might make for a scenic shot, you need to infuse your photo with points of interest to really draw the viewer in. This is why focusing on capturing interesting elements in your foreground is a must, according to professional seascape photographer Chris Gin. He explains: “Look for interesting rocks or rock formations and use those as your foreground interest. However, don’t just find a rock and stick it randomly in your photo – try and find some sort of pattern or structure to lead the viewer into the shot.”

Learn the Tidal Movements

Thinking of heading out at sunset to shoot a seascape? Be sure to look up the tidal movements and times just to ensure you’re one step ahead. The tide can also affect things such as wave size and the movement of the water. A quick Google search of the area you’re photographing at, along with the terms “tide table” should provide you with all of the necessary information.

How to Capture Gorgeous Seascapes

Where Will You Shoot From?

Seascapes can be shot from a number of locations, including from the beach, within the water, or even up on a cliff overlooking the scene. Depending on where you shoot from, you’ll be able to produce a number of different and stunning results. For example, if you’re after an elevated shot, putting yourself on much higher ground to the sea will help you to produce this. Alternatively, if you want to get up-close and almost level with the action, then getting your feet wet is certainly on the cards!

Consider Shutter Speed

When it comes to shooting seascapes, shutter speed can really make or break a photograph. Depending what shot you’re after, you’ll either want to freeze the movement of the water or give the water a soft blurred appearance.

Fine art photographer Barry J Brady offers the following helpful advice: “If you are shooting a seascape scene that includes rocks in the foreground and the water rolling over the rocks, then you may want to blur the water. To slow things down even further you could use a neutral density filter to make the exposure time even longer. To freeze the action of the water, you will need to be shooting at 1/1000th or faster. I find that freezing the action of the water is not always as dramatic as softening it.”

How to Capture Gorgeous Seascapes

Use a Tripod

Similarly with landscape photography, a tripod will also come in handy when shooting seascapes, particularly after the sun has begun to set. The aim of your photograph is to have elements such as rocks, driftwood, and clouds etc. all extremely sharp and in-focus. Alternatively, you’ll want the water in your images to have a soft and almost dreamlike quality. To achieve this, you’ll need to utilize a tripod, as you simply can’t rely on your hands – no matter how sturdy they might seem.

What to Look Out For

When it comes to capturing the most intriguing seascape masterpieces, what do the experts suggest you look for? Elements such as lighthouses, rocky outcrops, reflections, different color tones, and storms, according to photographer Barry J Brady. Any one of these elements in your photograph can produce stunning results and will have viewers always coming back to your work for more!

There you have it! By following these tips, you’ll know how to capture gorgeous seascapes within no time at all.


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