Surf Photography: tips for shooting watersports like a seasoned professional

    | Photography Tips | 02/08/2013 00:01am

    Our professional photographer’s recommended gear

    Our professional photographer's recommended gear: wetsuit

    Wetsuit for the waves
    Even in the warmer months, from California to Cornwall, the temperature of the sea will warrant a wetsuit if you want to stay warm. “Don’t forget, you’re likely to be out in the waves taking photos for a long time, and without a suit, hypothermia could kick in quicker than you think,” warns Roger. Hire or buy the best wetsuit you can afford.


    Our professional photographer's recommended gear: underwater housing

    Underwater DSLR housing
    For close-to-the-action surfing shots, you’ll need a waterproof housing. Roger uses the high-quality pro-level Aquatech (£2,000, and SPL (£1,075, housings for his EOS 7D.

    More affordable options include the Hama DiCAPac WP-DSLR1 (£150,, which comes in one size to fit most DSLRs with wide or standard zooms. Also check out Ewa-Marine housings, around £275.


    Our professional photographer's recommended gear: fisheye or ultra-wide-angle lens

    Fisheye or ultra-wide-angle lens
    “Tokina’s 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X DX is the current surf photographers’ ultra-wide-angle lens of choice when using the crop-factor cameras like Canon’s EOS 7D. It’s sharp and reliable and doesn’t distort shots too much, either. But I had to modify the built-in lens hood with a hacksaw so it fitted inside my underwater housings!” reveals Roger. “I can’t wait for Canon’s new fisheye zoom, the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM – the image quality, when paired with a 7D, should be phenomenal.”


    Our professional photographer's recommended gear: fast telephoto lens

    Fast telephoto prime lens
    For shooting surfers from the beach you’ll need a long telephoto lens. “I use the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, that’s super-fast to focus and super sharp,” says Roger, “On my 7D with its 1.6x crop factor, the 300mm has an effective focal length of 480mm; more than enough reach to fill the frame with wave action.”


    Our professional photographer's recommended gear: carbon fibre monopod

    Carbon fibre monopod
    “As I travel around the globe chasing the waves, I’m constantly on planes, so I need light and compact kit. My Manfrotto 695 carbon fibre monopod (around £165) is light and, thanks to its five-section setup, compact for tucking away in bags, plus it’s strong enough to support by big lenses to take the weight and ensure I get shake-free surf shots.”


    Our professional photographer's recommended gear: fast memory cards

    Fast memory cards
    “Initially I was using my own cheapo memory card but found that, when shooting in RAW on my 7D in High-speed Continuous drive mode, I was hitting the buffer all too quickly, which meant I had to wait – and miss some great photo opportunities. I switched to a Lexar Professional 300x UDMA CompactFlash card and the difference was incredible; no more delays!”

    PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
    PAGE 2: Surf photography tips for during the shoot
    PAGE 3: Final surf photography advice from our professional photographer
    PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
    PAGE 5: Shot of the Day


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    Posted on Friday, August 2nd, 2013 at 12:01 am under Photography Tips.

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