When you spend so many days at the beach photographing surfers, you learn a thing or two. I am no professional photographer but I wanted to share some tips with you all and some advice I have learned along the way.
1. Come prepared with the right equipment
While cell phone cameras are advancing, nothing beats a real camera. DSLR cameras and lenses can be expensive, there are definitely some nice options out there. I shoot surfers with a Nikon d5200 and a telephoto lens. I grew up using Nikon, so I am pretty biased towards the brand. My first DSLR was a Nikon d3400, and I LOVED it. This camera really got me into photography and craving new adventures to shoot. When you are shooting surfers, you are most likely a decent distance away. With this distance comes the challenge of zoom and lighting. I highly recommend investing in a telephoto lens. The further the distance, typically the more expensive. You do not need to go crazy, but having this feature makes the shots that much clearer. You can decide to opt for a simple digital camera. Many of these come with great zoom options. The Nikon Coolpix cameras can zoom great distances at a less expensive price point!
2. Learn the Sport
Thomas and I have been dating a long time, and I have watched him surf countless times. I enjoy it, and I also enjoy trying to capture the perfect moment. When I first started shooting Thomas, my photos were no where near the quality as they are now. I definitely learned a thing or two about surfing, but I also learned what shots are impressive to surfers and what shots Thomas would not want to post. (Personally, I think all surfing pics look cool.) When you photograph any sport, it is important to know when to shoot and when to wait. It takes a lot of focus and practice to capture the perfect shot at the right time. I am still learning more and more every day!
3. Practice. Practice. Practice. & try a new angle!
As I mentioned earlier, photography takes time and patience. Capturing a quality action shot at the right time is not easy, but you can do it! I have confidence in you. The more you practice, the better you will become. There are various factors that come into play that also need to be considered. These factors may require you to try a new angle. For example, lighting and shadows can make or break a photo. I love shooting with blue skies, but they can really bleach out the photos. The fall is a great time to start shooting surfers because the sun hangs in the sky nicely and the water is not bleached out. I purchased a small cover for my lens to help prevent shadows and over exposure, but I hope to purchase more equipment in the future. If your shots are not working out, maybe try taking a walk down the beach or stand on the jetty. Get creative, practice, and have fun! Photography should be a fun hobby, not a stressful one. 🙂