Surf Photography: How To Get Into Surfing Photography


Getting into surf photography is not easy. From learning how to shoot waves to investing in the right gears, there are many things that you need to do. Your transformation from a newbie to a pro will not happen overnight. 

Interested in getting into surfing photography? Keep on reading and we’ll share some tips to help you get started. 

1. Invest in the Right Equipment 

Like in any other niche in photography, you need to have the right gear. The following are some of the things that you will need. 

  • Camera: At the most basic, you will need the best cameras for surfing the telephoto lens. You can also. Action cams are popular, especially GoPro. If you want more professional-looking photos, on the other hand, use DSLR cameras. 
  • Lenses: Fisheye, telephoto, and wide-angle lenses will also help to up your photography skills. Whether you are shooing on land or water, the right lens will have an impact on the quality of your shots. 
  • Housing: If you don’t have a waterproof camera and you will be riding the waves as you shoot, this is important to protect your camera. 

2. Know Your Settings

The right camera is not enough. You must know the right settings. This will help capture the details of the waves. 

Fast shutter speed is one of the most important since waves move quickly. The shutter speed, on average, should be 1000th to 1250th of a second. 

It is also a good idea to have your ISO setting in automatic mode. 

You also need to have a sharp aperture. This will help in keeping the sharpness of the photo while managing the exposure. 

3. Know Where You Will Shoot 

Your shooting location will also matter. This will dictate the type of gear that you will need, especially a camera lens. Plus, this will have an impact on the shooting techniques and camera settings. 

If you are shooting from the channel, you will need a good telephoto lens. You can also use the best tripods for landscape photography to keep your camera stable. In front of the barrel, you will need a wide-angle lens. When you are inside the barrel, on the other hand, fisheye lenses will be great. If you are under the water, the best lenses for underwater photography include wide-angle and fisheye. 

4. Shoot at the Right Time 

Timing is also crucial in capturing the best shots in the surfing scene. If you shoot at the right time, the photos will come out amazing, especially if you take advantage of natural lighting. 

Early morning is the best time to shoot. Unsurprisingly, this is also the time when most surfers head to the water. Shooting during sunset is also good, especially if you want to have dramatic lighting. 

5. Get in the Water 

The best surfing photos are the ones taken in the water and not from the land. So, you need to be where the action is. Learn the basics of how to catch a wave. Make sure that you don’t get in the way of the other suffers. Master the art of balancing, which can be quite more difficult when you are holding your gear while standing on a surfboard. 

You don’t always have to in a surfboard, though. You can shoot while standing in the water near the wave. You can also ride a boat or a jet ski if you want to capture a different perspective compared to what you will shoot while on the shore. 

6. Safety First 

Safety is an important consideration when you are into surfing photography. This will prevent surf injuries. This will also help protect your gear from possible damage. 

Especially when you are shooting in the water, know your limits. The ocean can be a dangerous place. You need to concentrate on both surfing and photography to be aware of the situation in the surroundings. Assess water conditions. Wearing a high-visibility surfing wetsuit can also help. 

7. Master Post-Editing 

The photos that you see in popular magazines are not published raw. They are edited to make certain elements stand-out. So, you also need to learn the art of post-editing to add more character to your pictures and correct some elements. 

Lightroom and Snapseed are two of the best apps to consider using. Cropping, exposure, saturation, contrast, and brightness are some of the things that you can adjust to make the photos look better. 

8. Expand Your Network 

Surround yourself with the right people, especially expert and experienced surf photographers. They can provide you with first-hand insights on what can be done to improve your photography skills. It will also help to join online groups where people share tips on how to shoot better when surfing subjects are involved. 

9. Keep on Practicing

Practice makes perfect. The best surf photographers are not born overnight. Just like in learning how to catch more waves in surfing, you need to practice your photography skills. Take advantage of every opportunity to shoot and improve. 



Got questions about surfing photography? We’ll answer some of them before we conclude this short guide. 

Q: How much does a surf photographer make?


A surf photographer can make $33,512 to $49,081 annually. This, however, is only for professionals who are working at surfing magazines. For freelancers and novices, it is quite challenging to earn a lot unless you have exceptional skills.

Q: How do you become a surf photographer?


To become a surf photographer, you need to first know how to surf. Then, you need to invest in the right equipment to capture the most captivating shots on the waves. You also have to learn the etiquette. Plus, you have to master the use of social media to promote your photos or your business.

Q: What is the best camera for surf photography?


The best camera for surf photography is one that you are most comfortable with. There is no specific brand or model. Canon, however, is one of the most popular brands for land-based photography. If you are shooting from a surfboard, compact action cameras like GoPro are excellent.

Q: How do you shoot a wave in photography?


To shoot a wave in photography, you need a telephoto lens if you are on land. If you are in the water, on the other hand, use a wide-angle lens. Shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the lighting is good.

Globo Surf Overview 

Now is the time to try surfing photography! From investing in the right gear to learning post-editing skills, take note of the things mentioned above. They will help to elevate your skills and become a better photographer!

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!