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This Photo Session focused on one of the most inspiring subjects for amateur and professional photographers alike. Flip through the slideshow below to see all the ocean photos we received, and don’t forget to check our social media channels, where we will be sharing some of our favorites. Select photos may also be featured in an upcoming issue of Your AAA magazine.
Ocean Photography Tips
From the motion of the waves to glistening sunset reflections, the ocean overflows with magical photography opportunities. Capture them all with these tips.
If I could only bring one lens with me to photograph the ocean, I would choose a wide-angle zoom lens. My favorite range is 17-28mm. Using a wide angle will allow you to capture the wide expanse of the ocean and the sky above it.
Highs and Lows
Varying your heights when photographing the ocean will yield wildly different results.
In this first shot, I have my camera positioned low – roughly 2 feet above the water. This image shows the motion and the power of the ocean.
Word of caution: If you are using a tripod in or near the water, be very careful with where you place it. The tide is always changing. I always make sure I am holding on to either my camera strap or the tripod itself.
For this photo, I got high by taking a shot from a pier. This portrays the grandness of the ocean. The tiny people help show the scale.
Ebbs and Flows
The motion of the waves is what makes the ocean one of my absolute favorite places to play with shutter speed. You can use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the ocean. In the image below, I zoomed in on a wave just as it was breaking. My settings were f/9, 1/320 sec, ISO 100. To freeze motion, I recommend a shutter speed of 1/300th of a second and above.
To show motion, you will need a slower shutter speed. In the photo below, my settings were f/22, ⅛ sec, ISO 50. I recommend using a shutter speed of ⅛ of a second or slower to show the motion of the waves. With a shutter speed this slow you will need a tripod. If you are new to photography, I recommend putting your camera into shutter priority mode and selecting your desired shutter speed. Your camera will then pick the other settings based on the available light.
Time It Right
The best time to photograph oceans is during the golden hours of the day. That means you will want to hit sunrise and sunset.
Check out past AAA Photo Sessions and stay tuned for the next one, coming soon.
Beth Mancuso is a professional landscape and travel photographer.