These are 5 surf photography hacks I use frequently when I’m shooting in the water. Ok sure some are not exactly hacks but more so tips that help you get clear, sharp awesome shots.
1.) Candle wax on lens port to shed water droplets
I learnt this tip from the Aquateach website. You use candle wax to shed water off the lens port, the white unsented candle wax works best. I have used surf wax and car wax but the simple white candle wax seems to be the right consitancy to buff out and still allow clear shots. The wax lasts for about 40min – 80min in the water, this will depend on water temp. The warmer the water the quicker the wax will come off. I still use my wet suit sleeve to wipe excess water off the lens.
2.) Taking split shots with dome port
So I always get asked how do you take those 50/50 split shots, and the answer is with a dome. The larger the dome and wider the lens the sharper the water line will be because it is futher away from the lens. This takes quite a few practice sessions to really nail your settings, but I generally use a high f-stop so the foreground and background can be in focus.
3.) Camera settings for sharp photos
So this tip is obviously subjective, but I have found these settings to work the best from most days with lots of sunshine. Your settings will change if you need to achieve different styles of shots but these settings get sharp photos everytime. Mainly used for in the water and action shots, when you think about it, you’re floating in the water so you’re moving and the subject or surfer is moving, so you want a fast enough shutter speed to eliminate any blur.
1/2000, f5.6, iso auto 100-1600, shutter bust high, white balance Sunny, Autofocus AI servo, centre point focus
4.) Backdoor floaty mouth mount
I have used the backdoor floaty as a mouth mount for 6 years now. It allows you to get multiple angles from one session. The first angle you can get is a POV from the mouth and then because you have the mount on the gopro and the backdoor floaty you can mount it to your board or housing giving you another perspective.
5.) Water drops on lens. Leave a few water drops on lens port to give added bokeh dreamy look.
So I figured this tip out after the wax stopped sheding water off the lens port. If there is the right about of water drops on the lens port you get a great bokeh effect/ dreamy feel to your photos. Use cautiously if there are too many drops on the lens you will get blury shots.
I hope these tips help you out. Be sure to subscribe to my youtube channel as I will be making more of these style videos.
See you out in the water.