Oceans are one of the most variable photography subjects you can imagine. In a few hours, they can go from exuding serenity to lashing out at you with unexpected ferocity. The depth and sheer vastness of the seas that cover our earth make it hard not to stand in awe of them.
That beauty and power is something that every photographer wants to capture when shooting landscapes as dramatic as the ocean. Below we're going to look at a couple of simple tips for getting creative and stunning ocean shots, then we dive into some inspiring images that will hopefully fire up your imagination!
Getting creative with your photography is one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of capturing great landscapes. It can so often feel that everything has been done before. One tip would be to find a focal point, an element or a specific detail that you're trying to capture. Natural objects and man made structures can both serve as points of interest in your shots.
Look for rock formations, use found objects, frame shots with people in the foreground. There are also fascinating structures built along the coastline like castles, lighthouses, and docks to name a few. If you're going for a photograph with the ocean as the sole subject, consider what aspect of character you want to capture and think about factors that would enhance that shot. Be different! Try a variety of angles, look for reflections or details that stand out, and above all enjoy yourself.
The first, and possible most influential, tip would be to carefully consider what time of day you go out to take your photographs. The ocean can look dramatically different at sunrise or sunset than it does in the midday sun. In addition, it's definitely worth paying attention to the lens and filters that will best serve your shots.
A wide angle lens is absolutely necessary if you're serious about any kind of landscape photography, think about upgrading to a devoted wide angle prime such as 14mm or 20mm F2.8. Consider taking a telephoto lens if you have one, as you could find that perfect location is a little less accessible than you thought.
Regarding filters, the best two types to consider taking along would be a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter. Neutral density filters in particular can help you take incredible long exposure shots by blocking out a significant amount of light. One final tip would be to keep checking your histogram. Correctly exposing your shots on location can save a great deal of time and anguish in post.
Here are a few links to useful tutorials and articles that will teach you more about this type of photography:
- 9 Tips for Making Lovely Landscapes
- 13 Steps for Creative Coastline Photography
- Achieve Beautiful Landscape Photos with a Neutral Density Filter
- Ocean Photography
Share Your Own Images!
I hope you've enjoyed the above photographs and that they've inspired you to go out and capture something amazing for yourself! We'd love to see your favourite ocean shots, just post a comment and link below. Also, feel free to link to any resources that you've found particularly helpful in this area.