Seascape photography: how to shoot smooth stormy seas

Seascape photography 05

Seascape photography step by step – steps 9-12

10 Draw a gradient

Create a new layer, set the foreground colour to black and select the Gradient tool. In the Options panel click the Linear and Transparency buttons, then click the Edit button and select the Foreground to Transparent preset. Draw a diagonal gradient from the top-left of the image to the horizon. 

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11 Blur the sky

Set the layer’s blending mode to Overlay; this darkens the midtones and dark tones in the sky, and evens out the exposure. Target the ‘Background’ layer, take the Quick Selection tool and select the sky.

To blur the clouds a bit more go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur, set Angle to 0 and Distance to 251 and click OK. Press Ctrl+D to deselect the selection. Add a Levels adjustment layer and set Shadows to 6, Midtones to 1.11 and Highlights to 246 to boost the contrast.


12 Add a vignette

Click ‘Layer 1’, and hit Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer. Go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows/Highlights and set Lighten Shadows to 6%, Darken Highlights to 13% and Midtone Contrast to +28%.

Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set Saturation to +18. Create another merged layer and go to Filter > Correct Camera Distortion. Set Vignette Amount to -36 and Midpoint to +44, and click OK.


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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