Surfing Photography Tips

Surfing is definitely one of the sports that is fun to capture. Every photo you take has something to do with how the waves form, how your subject performs his tricks and of course – luck and timing! After you get a really good capture, it’s all worth it! Show your subject your gnarly photo of him and he will appreciate it. I’m a surfer too and I know how it feels when someone captures a great photo of me surfing and that doesn’t happen often.

Here are some important tips you need to know when you want to take surfing photos.

1. Wipe-out shots look cool!
I’m not going to hold back this trick that I realized by myself when I was taking surfing photos. This is no secret, but many fail to realize how awesome the shot is – when your target gets wiped out! Most surf photographers focus on “capturing the moment” but this is just basically “luck” and timing! Patience is a virtue indeed – and just keep on shooting.

This is actually a wipe-out shot.  It’s me and I’m about to fall in .01 seconds

Looks cool though!

2. Try shooting on water.
When you do, make sure your camera is either water-proof or has a secure camera casing. Taking shots while you’re on water gives a more real photo with splashes of water here and there and you get to capture your subject in different angles – up front, sideways while the wave is making a barrel, underwater and many other angles!

Just be sure to hold the camera still. Switch to video mode at times – just in case!

3. Light is your best friend.
This is important when you are shooting by the shore. The best light usually happens early morning. Sunset shots usually just give you silhouettes and unless you are taking an “artistic” surf shot, try to avoid taking photos at this time and maybe, enjoy the time to surf yourself!

This was taken at noon.  And you think the lighting is best at this time, well – it is not! Notice the shadows that cover the surfer’s face and body.

4. Zoom lens!
Zoom lens is important if you are taking shots from the shore. You need at least a 200mm lens or an 8x zoom digital camera, or higher.

5. Be patient and alert.
Get ready to take photos when you see your subject paddling and getting a wave. Try to put your settings to “burst” mode so that you can capture every move without missing any happening! Remember to take even the wipe-out shots!

6. Move!
Don’t just shoot from one angle. Try to find the spot with the best light, but also move around and try taking photos on different sites.

7. Respect.
Don’t publish unflattering photos like nipple slips or a really ugly facial expression or an awkward wipe-out position. This is very unprofessional.

Best of all, have fun taking photos! If you want to make this a career, enroll in a photography class in your local area. But if you just want to have fun and try this, just remember the tips above and have fun shooting!

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