6. Use the tide for a leading line
Slow shutter speed wave shots are often captured looking out to sea, but you can create strong leading lines in an image by shooting while facing along the beach.
Landscape ace Julian Elliott took this shot on The Strangles beach on the north coastline of Cornwall (here are some excellent tips for how to take great coast photos like Julian’s).
“A couple of weeks before I took this, I’d already been to this beach, but the weather was overcast and grey,” Julian says. “As a result I ended up doing just rock abstracts on what is essentially a great, untouched beach.
“On my way back from another shoot in Cornwall I found time to call in at The Strangles again, because the conditions were better. It was useful having visited the beach before because I knew what to expect from it.
“The wave came from watching how it was washing over the beach. I used Live View to time it just right so that there was a strong leading line into the image. I used a soft ND grad filter to bring in the sky, but also to gently filter the waves and the reflection in the sand so that there weren’t too many blown highlights when the waves receded.”
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- When doing coastal photography that involves beaches and coves, you must check the appropriate tide timetables. The sea can be very dangerous, and no photograph is worth risking your life for. If you go to a remote beach like The Strangles, either take someone with you or tell someone where you’re going (check out these other 10 great tips for better coastal landscapes).
- Use a tripod (find out how to use a tripod the right way), and regularly wash it down with fresh water. “I often carry bottles of tap water for this purpose,” says Julian.
- Don’t always stick to the rule of thirds, Julian advises. “I find with beach shots that the 80/20 rule often works well.”
- Shoot the receding, rather than the incoming, waves. Receding waves create nicer patterns for you to play with.