From composition to some basic technical knowledge, here are some tips and tricks from professional photographers on how to capture the sea.

Exposure bracketing

One of the challenges of photographing the sea in the middle of summer is that the sun shines very bright and the camera could under expose your shots. In such bright conditions, use a low ISO setting (100 or 200) combined with narrow aperture (between f14 and f22) with a moderately fast shutter speed. If you want a narrower depth of field (for a portrait for example), open up the aperture and make the shutter speed faster.

The Sunny f/16 Rule is a quick and easy way that can save your daytime photos, at least in terms of exposure and light. It’s a way of ensuring a reasonable shot under sunny conditions without the aid of a light meter. The basic rule states to shoot at an aperture of f/16 with a shutter speed of 1/125 when shooting on ISO 100 film.

If your camera has spot metering, you can overcome some of the above exposure problems. It’s a feature that allows you to tell the camera which part of the image you want to be well exposed.

Watch the horizon

Seascapes are wide open spaces with a long and often unbroken horizon that can result in somewhat boring pictures. A good technique for landscape shots is to position horizons off center to avoid having a photo looking chopped in half. Use the horizon as your divider for the rule of thirds, drawing the eye to your subject.

The rule of thirds is perhaps the most well-known rule of photographic composition. Imagine breaking an image down into thirds by drawing four lines both horizontally and vertically so that you have 9 parts. The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.

Black and white

Stripping an image of color can have a great effect and completely change its mood. There’s something dramatic about a great expanse of water that works great a black and white photo. Taking out the colors can also revitalize pictures taken on overcast days which can often leave a beach scene looking dull and washed out.

Sometimes black and white images suit a scene better than color ones. You can experiment with some of your photos and see which images would be more compelling devoid of color. Lighthouses, boats or driftwood would make amazing subjects for a black and white photo.

Get the right gear

To get the best photos you need the right gear. Bring a tripod, an essential piece for taking sharp pictures. A tripod keeps your horizons straight and stops the camera shake from spoiling long exposure shots of waves.

Wide-angle lens work best for shooting landscapes in general. One of the most useful DSLR lens accessories that you can add to a digital camera is a polarizing filter. It will remove glare from the water and bring out the rich colors or reflections in the scene. The most noticeable improvements are with blue skies, making them rich and almost dark blue.

UV filters protect your lens from the sand and salty air and filter out ultraviolet light in a certain range. Gradient filters are for evening and morning photos when you’re dealing with heavy contrast. To keep your camera dry, cover it with a lens cloth.

Minding your surroundings

One of the most important things to remember is that the sea coast is a harsh environment. The terrain can be slippery and, if you’re not careful, you can find yourself stranded on rocks in a rising tide. Always be careful of where you’re going, check the area and the weather forecast and pack accordingly. From colder climates to humid ones, be prepared for cold winds or afternoon thunderstorms. Location scouting takes some time, so arrive early to familiarize yourself with the beach and get the best place.

Find more tips and tricks for incredible photos at see here.