Long Exposure Seascapes - My Techniques

In this tutorial I’m going to share all my techniques when taking long exposure seascape photography. The settings, equipment, tips and everything you need to know to take great seascapes. We’re also giving away a free guide to ND filters and how to use them to help you on your way. In the shoot I create a long exposure by mixing a Hard Grad filter with a 10 stop ND filter and explain the reasons why you need to do this.

We’re on the lovely island of Tenerife where you have black volcanic rocks against the bright sky.  Check out this challenging shoot from set up to final picture.

A Free ND Filter Guide can be found at the bottom of this page.

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How to take Long Exposure Seascapes

Compose the shot

As with all landscape photography, composition is key! Get to your location, get a good composition, fix your tripod, fix your focus and get ready for the magic to happen! For more about composition click here.

Do you need to use a grad filter?

If the sky is a lot brighter than the ground, you may need to use a grad filter to balance out the exposure. If this is the case, take a look at the horizon line and figure out weather you need a Hard of Soft graduated filter. For more on graduated filters for photography click here.

What is the difference in stops between the sky and water?

Figure out the difference in exposure between the sky and the water. This will determine what strength of grad filter you need. For in depth knowledge on how to do this click here.

What visual effect do you want to achieve?

How you want the picture to look will determine the settings you use. For instance, if you want no noise in the shot, you use ISO 100, if you want a long DOF you can use f16. For more in depth knowledge on camera settings click here.

Work out your exposure

When you’re set up with the right grad filter, f stop and ISO you can take a meter reading to give you your shutter speed. It’s best to do this in fully manual mode.

Use an Exposure Calculator

When you have your shutter speed value you can use an exposure calculator to give you the correct shutter speed needed when using a 10 stop ND filter. And because we’re good to you, I’ve provided one for free. Simply fill out the form below to get it.

Add the ND filter and take the shot

Make sure all your camera settings are correct, add the ND filter and take the shot. As you’re doing long exposure seascapes, you’ll probably need to use the bulb setting on your camera and use a cable release or remote trigger. For more in depth knowledge on this click here.

Long Exposure Seascape Example

long exposure seascapes example

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Like this? - Check out similar tutorials below

Free ND Filter Guide and Exposure Calculator

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