If you plan to take your camera in the water, make sure to use waterproof housing. A good housing not only protects your camera from splashes and spills, but it’s also essential for underwater photography. Once your camera is protected from water, you can go nearly anywhere with it.
The type of housing you use depends on what kind of lens you want to shoot with. “Are you going to shoot with a prime lens, or are you going to bring something that can zoom?” says Beroldo. “It’s more expensive to get a housing for a zoom.”
Since there’s less light at sunrise or sunset, pictures of ocean vistas during these times usually require longer exposures. A tripod keeps your camera steady while you take long exposure shots, as any movement can lead to out-of-focus images. Stability is especially important in these shots when your shutter is open for longer durations. Even the touch of a finger on the camera body can create too much motion — but putting the shutter on delay or using a remote shutter release to prevent camera shake can help. “I always do a two-second timer when I’m doing a long exposure,” says Healy.
ND filter or polarizing filter
Even if you avoid shooting at midday, sometimes glare on the surface of water is inevitable. A neutral density filter (also known as an ND filter) can help diminish increased light on the water. An ND filter reduces the intensity of light while still preserving color — an essential feature for any photographer who shoots outdoors. A polarizing filter, or circular polarizer, works in a similar way, but focuses on removing glare.
Sometimes getting the right shot requires you to venture into the cold surf of the ocean at high tide or to wade into the algae-filled shallows of a wide and wandering river. Waterproof boots help you stay dry so you can concentrate on taking photos instead of being distracted by cold feet.
Some water photography requires you to dive into the deep end, literally — and swim with a camera in hand. When that happens, it’s only your legs that keep you afloat. Diving fins can help you keep your head above water when your hands are occupied.
“When you’re out in the water, you’re 100% reliant on what your lower body’s doing,” says Beroldo, who often finds himself holding his camera with two hands while staying afloat with his fin-clad feet. Seek out fins that attach to your leg with a tether line. That way, if one comes off, you won’t lose it forever.
If you want to photograph people hanging ten or catching waves, you may have to swim out among the surfers. With your eyes on a subject, you might not see another rider behind you. That’s why you should wear a helmet in case a stray surfboard comes your way.
When you shoot in a body of water where there may be surfers, swimmers, fishers, or boats, it’s also important to stay visible. Reflective clothing or gear can help you get noticed. “Not everything on your body should be dark colors like blue or black,” Beroldo explains, as these colors can blend into the water. “My camera housings are red and yellow.”