Seascape photography: how to shoot smooth stormy seas

Seascape photography 05

Seascape photography step by step – steps 4-6

04 Camera settings

Set your camera to Manual mode, and dial in a narrow aperture of f/16-22; this will keep the scene sharp from front to back, and will also help to stop down the light. Set the ISO to 100.

The shutter speed required for a good exposure will depend on the ambient light conditions and the density of the filter. To work out the shutter speed, take a test shot without the filter, note the shutter speed, then calculate the speed with the filter fitted.

SEE MORE: The best camera settings for landscape photography


05 Attach the filter

Fit the ND filter to your lens. For our shoot we used a variable ND, which enabled us to adjust the density of the filter from approximately one stop up to eight stops by rotating the outer ring; don’t ever use a variable ND at its densest setting, however, as you’ll get an uneven darkening effect across the frame.

 SEE MORE: Using ND grad filters – how to fix murky foregrounds and over-exposed skies

06 Shutter speed

Use your calculated shutter speed as a starting point, half-press the shutter button to meter the scene and turn the dial to adjust the shutter speed if required, until the exposure level indicator is in the middle of the range. If you’re shooting in low light or using a very dense filter, and need an exposure longer than 30 seconds, use Bulb mode.


Seascape photography step by step – steps 1-3
Seascape photography step by step – steps 4-6
Seascape photography step by step – steps 7-9
Seascape photography step by step – steps 10-12


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