Photography - Knowledge

Beginners Guide to Amazing and Unmatched Seascape Photography

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The ocean is perhaps the single most inspiring natural creation that motivates photographers in an unmatched way. To be able to tame the rough waves splashing on the rocks is the ultimate thrill. Many photographers consider seascape photography to be the ultimate test of their skill. While it is no doubt a challenging task, it is possible to capture seascapes beautifully. In the following sections, we will see how.

What is Seascape Photography?

Seascape photography by definition includes the sky, water, their reflections, the horizon and other elements where the sky and water meet. The beauty of these elements perfectly interwoven together is matchless. Different shots of the same seascape can depict different moods and feelings of the photographer.

The main difference between seascape photography and landscape photography is that while in landscape photography, the photographer has no control over the elements, the photographer can try to tame the waves when photographing the ocean. With some practice and lots of patience, you can become one of the best seascape photographers.

Seascape Photography: What Gear Do You Need

Before getting started with the tips for clicking seascapes, let us have a quick look at the essential gear required for the same. Of course, you will need a camera. The list given below highlights the various accessories that you will need.

  • Wide Angle Lenses

Using a wide-angle lens will allow you to capture the grandeur of the seascape. Although it is possible to click seascapes using normal lenses too, the effect is not as majestic as wide-angle lenses.

wide angle lens
Wide angle lens (source)
  • The Right Filters

When you venture into seascape photography, it is to be assumed that your camera will be more prone to scratches by sand. A simple remedial step like using a UV filter will be helpful in protecting the lens. Further, an ND filter will be required to smoothen out the wavefront when you click. The use of a polarizing filter may enhance your picture quality by suppressing any stray light and reducing glares. Using the ideal filter will transform a plain photograph of the sea into a stunning seascape photograph.

  • Camera Stabilization

Using a tripod is highly recommended for seascape photography. Make sure the legs of the tripod is deep in the sand, this way you will capture stable and non- blurry photos. Keeping cleaning equipment like lens cloth and your preferred DSLR lens cleaning kit is of utmost importance. This will ensure that your gear will be cleaned promptly in the event of sand coming in contact with it.

tripod for camera stabilization
Click stable photos with tripod (source)

Seascape Photography: Tips and Tricks

Many famous seascape photographers can vouch for the fact that capturing the seascape in a photograph in a way that it retains its natural beauty isn’t an easy task. At the same time, they also have mastered the skill of capturing the essence of the ocean in their pictures. We have compiled a list of tips and tricks that these photographers use for seascape photography all the time. These tips will allow you to capture mesmerizing photographs of the ocean in its full glory.

1. Pay Heed to the Composition

Like in all forms of photography, composition plays a vital role in making or breaking an image of seascapes. To be able to merge all essential elements in a photograph, you have to look at angles that are not explored. Finding a particular location an angle for taking a shot can sometimes pay huge dividends.

Many times, finding your preferred composition will require you to get soaked in the ocean, brave the strong winds or bend way more than your body allows. Getting a good shot is actually worth all this effort. 

However, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your camera when you take these dangerous shots. 

2. Look for the Perfect Timing

Like everything else in life, there is a perfect moment for seascape photography. If you want to know how to how to photograph crashing waves, you must learn to wait for the perfect moment.

You cannot control or change the weather, but you can definitely make the best possible use of existing weather conditions. Whether the sky is clear blue or misty grey, you should try to find its best feature.

Seascape photography is characterized by high tides and low tides. Both these timings are different, yet beautiful. Shooting in high tide will allow you to play with the capricious waves while shooting in low tide will give you a lot of options for the foreground.

Similarly, the time of the day you choose is crucial for your results. While most popular seascape photography for sale is clicked in the golden hour, it doesn’t mean that good pictures cannot be clicked at other times of the day.

Click at right time
Look for the perfect timing (source)

3. Prepare for Off-season Travel

The time when tourists generally don’t prefer to go on the seaside is one of the best times to capture the ocean. The beaches are almost empty and there is minimum interference from anyone else. You will be able to experiment with your seascape photography techniques and learn a lot of new things. If possible, try to stay near the seascape that you are planning to click so that you know what it looks like at different times.

Learn all about Beach Photography: Equipment's, Camera Settings, Tips and Ideas

4. Utilize Foreground

Like in other kinds of photography, foreground should be utilized for maximal impact in seascape photography as well. A balanced inclusion of the foreground, the middle ground, and the background will yield high-quality pictures.

Deciding how much sea and how much sky you want to keep in the photograph is the key to this aspect. 

foreground in seascape
Foreground is an essential part of seascape photography

5. Capture Reflections

The one thing that sets the seascape apart from other landscapes is the reflection of the sun hitting the water surface. The ocean is then transformed into a mirror and photographers should try to capture these magical moments. A depth of field should be given when possible to increase the impact of the photograph.

Learn all the Tips to Master Reflection Photography

6. Include Interesting Structures

The beauty of seascape photography can be increased in many folds simply by including interesting objects in the frame. Light houses, bridges and harbours with fishing boats and nets make excellent additions to seascapes. These structures can either add to the character of your photograph, or they may serve as leading lines that focus the attention of the viewer on the image.

seascape photography
Capture different elements of sea

7. Understand the Shutter Speed

The shutter speed of your camera can play a major role in the output. Slower shutter speed allows you to capture cool coastal pictures by flattening out the sea surface. Fast shutter speed of 1/20 seconds and above allows you to freeze the motion of a wave. A judicious balance of shutter speed will yield the desired effects. Longer shutter speed of 20-30 seconds will create frothy white texture in the water. Between slow and fast speed, there may be many movements of waves that are captured best at an intermediate shutter speed. 

Know the details of Shutter Speed with The Perfect Handbook!

8. Keep Looking for Unusual Elements

Seascape photographs can be boring and predictable if you keep including only the trite elements in them. Look for unusual elements like the impression of waves left on the sand, tidal pools, moss etc. sometimes add the wow-factor to your photographs.


Seascape photography is truly rewarding in terms of experience and the quality of photographs. However, the ocean and the sand is a deadly combination for your gear. In addition, the slippery terrain might require extra caution on your part.

If you are careful with your steps and watchful with your eyes, you will definitely capture that shot which you have yearned for. All the best!

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