A Surf Photographer`s Tips

Pictures explain more than words, pictures of surfers riding wave are just remarkable. Images of surfers in action against enormous waves are all over the internet, they all have one thing in common, they are all captivating and enticing and due to this photographers might think it’s relatively an easy task to capture these moments, which is not the case. Many photographers have confessed that it’s no just a matter of picking up your camera and snapping, the timing has to be extremely right, the photographer has to be patient and wait for the right moments. These are among other few tips I learnt that will help you take incredible snaps the next time you find yourself on a surfing hotspot.

Before surfing there are some important equipment you need to have. Some of these equipment’s are wetsuits, surf wax and surfboards. Most wetsuits are used during cold weather surfing thus maintaining the temperature of the body. Wetsuits also have resistance in wearing of.

Use a lens with high magnification

Surfers usually zoom at fast speeds, therefore in order for you to capture those rare perfect peak moments, you need to have the right tools for the job, personally I chose the Canon 5D mark III which has features such as 3.2 inch clear view LED monitor, intelligent viewfinder and a DIGIC 5+ image processor among others. A good camera gives you real-time opportunity to capture that wow! Moment.

Study the light before you start shooting

As a photographer I know you are aware of how important the light aspect is to any caption, generally, the light aspect in surf photography is greatly based on studying how the light is reflecting off the water surface. You want to be on the side with low reflection, this can be achieved by looking straight ahead with a keen eye to notice how and where the light is bouncing towards.

Keep your ISO low

For those of us who have been to the beach, it’s evident that it is usually flooded with light, thus you should keep your ISO settings to the lowest level possible to minimize the noise effect.

Polarizing filter

Among my favorite filters around reflective surfaces is the circular polarizing filter. During a typical normal beach day, the sun is always shining bright and creating many reflections, the polarizing filter absorbs most of these reflections especially if you find yourself shooting on the reflection filled side.

Keep practicing

As stated earlier, surf photographs have that incredible potential to look great, therefore, you need to keep on doing research and practice to evolve from good to great.

Positioning of the image

When shooting a surfer, you are trying to get a highly detailed image. The basic rule of any type of photography is to know where to position your image; the average best position in surfing is in the middle in order to display how the surfer interacts with water.


Though all beaches and surfing spots may seem same, there are different techniques of taking surfing snaps from the different wave beaches, a serious surf photographer will be constantly travelling to familiarize themselves with the different techniques of surf snapping.