How to Photograph Coastal Scenery?

The coastal landscape is one of the most popular subjects available year-round, as it has so much creative potential. Overcast weather only adds drama to your photos, and endless rolling waves help you hone your long-shutter skills.

Today we’ll give you valuable tips on how to shoot coastal landscapes effectively. Be sure to try them out to gain new experiences and improve your professional skills. Let’s tell you right away that you may need a tripod for this genre. You can find information about the best tripods for photography and choose the perfect one thanks to an article on Skylum’s blog.

The perfect time to take pictures

Shoot at sunrise or before sunset. There are advantages, of course:

  • Let the scene you’re shooting be illuminated by low sunlight. That way the texture will stand out and the sense of volume of the objects in the foreground will be enhanced.
  • The unique colors of sunrise and sunset will create a special atmosphere in your photos and make them more expressive.
  • Since the light intensity will be low, slower shutter speeds will enhance the effect.

In landscape photography, it is vital to choose the right time to take a picture. Agree that for a great shot, you can wake up a few hours earlier.

Special Live View mode

Zoom in on the camera screen 10 times and set the lens to manual focus mode when framing in Live View. Focus on the point in the scene you want to shoot. Hold down the button to estimate the depth of field at the aperture setting. Use the navigation keys to scroll through the foreground and background and check that the foreground and background are sharp enough.

Neutral density filter

A strong, three-stop neutral density filter allows you to shoot with slow shutter speeds regardless of lighting conditions. Aim for a shutter speed of half a second if you want to emphasize the movement of the waves, and a 30-second shutter speed if you want to blur the surface of the water. Start exposing the frame when the waves return to the sea. By doing so, you’ll create elusive lines in the image that draw the viewer’s eye inward.

Organize the foreground

A meaningful choice of foreground will convey the depth of the scene you’re shooting. Nice combinations of cliffs, coastal flowers, or footprints in the sand can produce a stunning effect. And the image of flowing water will bring the viewer into the story. It’s pretty easy to find a stunning subject and create a great composition on the coast, just don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Create a story that will appeal to the viewer.

Shoot with a wide-angle lens

This is great for capturing all the beauty of coastal vistas. Try the 10-24mm focal length range with a camera that has a light-sensitive sensor, or 16-35mm with a full-frame camera. For best results, lower the tripod head down and set the aperture on the camera to a significant value. If you’re not satisfied with the results, try playing around with the settings a bit, your efforts are sure to pay off.

Explore harbors

Small harbors and fishing villages have endless possibilities to stimulate inspiration. Use the long lens to create beautiful compositions, such as bunches of crabs that have been prepared to dry out or the reflections of colorful fishing boats in the water. The high waves come in handy here!

Catch the wave

It’s important to get the right point of view concerning the movement of the waves because they give the pictures a distinctive look. One of the best times to photograph coastal landscapes is at low tide. You can no longer see the fine pebbles and footprints of people who have walked here recently, while large boulders are still wet and shine in the light.

Protecting the camera from sea spray

Seawater splashes can be devastating to photographic equipment. Protect your camera by wrapping it in a special rain cover. Believe me, this is a very important aspect that will help protect your expensive equipment. Rinse your tripod in clean, fresh water after each shoot. Periodically check the condition of the front lens. If it is dripping, wipe it off with optic lens cleaner and a piece of microfiber cloth.

Shoot in a storm

In a storm, you can create the most dramatic shots of the coast. Use a long lens to capture the waves crashing against the rocks and the shoreline from a safe distance. A lens hood will help protect the front lens from possible splashing. Be careful: one big wave can ruin your entire shooting day very quickly!

Making the storm shots even more dramatic will help with proper post-processing. Even if you’re a fan of classic Adobe software, try exploring new areas of creativity. Use the modern Luminar Neo photo editor with its intuitive interface and a large set of professional AI-based tools.

Be sure to bring a tripod

A modern tripod with a good head is essential for shooting coastal scenes. You’ll need a tripod that’s heavy and stable enough so that the swaying back and forth of the mass of water can’t move it. Take pictures at slow shutter speeds using the remote shutter release control.

Make sure the wire is not dangling in the water. If it’s been a while since you’ve been able to find stable equipment to shoot coastlines and seascapes, then be sure to read the article about the best tripods for photography on the Skylum developer website.