Knowledge Of The Ocean
Always consider your safety first. Know the surf break your shooting at and never shoot alone. Learning and understanding surf reports and swell conditions are essential before you even step foot in the water. Understanding currents, rips, swell periods and wave types will make your life in the ocean much more pleasant. I am located in Western Australia so I usually send the drone up and access the for rips I can’t see from the shore and also do a quick sweep for sharks.
Basic Camera Options
A GoPro is an excellent start when it comes to surf and ocean photography, and there are so many talented ocean photographers who kill it with this affordable little camera.
At 12 Megapixels, this compact little device with gimbal-like ultra smooth video. Gives you the opportunity to focus on positioning first without the extra weight of a full frame camera.
See some GoPro Ocean Photographers HERE
Your next option is the Olympus Tough TG6 this is also a 12 MP 4k Camera/Video. Which is also perfect for snorkelling and diving with as it has a depth rating of 12 meters. In addition it works well in low light conditions.
Another option for those of you who have an Apple iPhone can opt for the Axisgo Waterproof Housing for your Iphone. These are fantastic to travel with as they are so compact and easy to use.
Stepping up from here most people use their current full-frame camera and lenses then purchase the housing and lens ports of choice.
Surf Water Housings
You must consider you ocean photography needs when selecting a housing they are rated to different depths but the decision often comes down to personal preference.
I personally own an Aquatech Waterhousing and I have never had an issue with it’s performance in the ocean.
There are many other surf/ocean photographers who use other options though and these include SPL, LiquidEye and Salty Housings these are all lighter and more compact.
I prefer the DMC for more extended periods in the water as these are so much lighter and less fatiguing. I would pick the DaFin’s if the swell was significant as I find they propel you through the water with a bit more power.
This is definitely a personal preference, but these are the two most popular options after speaking with multiple surf photographers to establish their preferences these two came up as the standouts.
If you are keen to learn more about Surf Photography join the Facebook group we created HERE I also have many interview with Professional and Surf Photography enthusiasts HERE. I find it inspiring to learn about the journey other Photographers have taken.
I also wear a wetsuit even in warmer water it gives you some added buoyancy while protecting you against reef grazes if you on a reef break. I tend to get cold after an hour in the Ocean, so a wetsuit helps keep me in the water for longer. This is always a personal choice. I use the Rip Curl or Roxy spring suits or steamer’s depending on conditions.