Birds Eye View: Seascape and Icescape Photography Techniques

by | Aug 11, 2022 | photography | 0 comments

The Stark Beauty of Antarctica by Nicki Geigert

Beautiful seascapes capture ocean waves’ power and perpetual motion; even in their stillness, icescapes are seen in their calmer and more peaceful state, showing humanity the world from a different perspective.

Seascapes and Icescapes from the Oceans photography is a kind of landscape photography where one of the main subjects is the ocean and ice. The main difference is the ever-moving water and the ever-changing ice state, influencing your picture and settings. Water and landscape are not easy to master, but they are extremely rewarding. Once you learn the essential techniques and master your camera, every opportunity to visit nature becomes a joy, a new story, and a world. The same place would not look the same twice.

In this article, ten (10) seascape and icescape photography tips are given to help you overcome the challenges of this unique niche.

10 Best Techniques For Power Seascape and Icescape Photography

Technique #10. Always Play It Safe With the Sea and that Ice. Safety should be the number one piece of advice for a seascape and icescape photographer. People starting with this genre tend to underestimate what the combination of water and ice can do. One must take safety very seriously. Be mindful of your surroundings always. Remember, no photo is worth your life.

Technique #9. A Sturdy Tripod Is A Must. An excellent tripod is essential for sea-focused photography. It must be sturdy enough to stabilize your camera when the waves hit it. The ocean environment is very aggressive and tends to break things. Finding a good tripod that would not fail you takes time, but it is worth the search.

Technique #8. Do Not Be Afraid Of Getting Wet. You need to get wet if you want to create good seascape and icescape images. This means that you must be close to the action to capture water in all its beauty, power, and stillness. There are instances wherein you fall, you get wet, or you have to stand knee-deep in the water. That is normal; that is the price one has to pay for the photos. That is why you need a spare set of clothes somewhere in a dry place. Backpacks are good at resisting water, so you can keep your stuff there.

Technique #7. Know The Tide And Swell. The weather forecast is vital for any landscape photography. However, in the case of seascapes, you need to add swell and tide into the picture. This information is critical for planning and field actions since every location has different land features. 

Technique #6. Minimize Depth Of Field. Talking about camera settings, depth of field is one vital technical parameter of the photo. For a landscape, all of its sub-genres should cover the whole area of the image.

Technique #5. Use Reflections In Your Shots. Reflections give some of the best photography opportunities. They can make or save a shot. It is not always obvious where to find these “reflections” for icescape and seaside photography. But be assured, there are many of them.

Technique #4. Use The Right Shutter Speed. Seascape and icescape from ocean photography are all about water. The shutter speed in a regular landscape shot affects the sky the most, and the fields, trees, and mountains stay where they are. It is all different for seascape photography, though. The water keeps shifting, and the waves move pretty fast. It would be best if one learned how to photograph water and how shutter speed affects it to master seascape photography. As to icescape photography, you need to know how to photograph such, as it will not remain the same depending on its state.

Technique #3. Select An Interesting Foreground. Seascape and icescape photography is very diverse when it comes to the foreground selection. Like the regular landscape, you can pick the rocks, plants, puddles, cliffs, or any solid objects. Depending on the environment, it is not impossible to create a variety of appealing subjects.

Technique #2. Shoot At Different Times Of The Day. The standard approach is to shoot around sunset and sunrise. This is, of course, correct, with exceptions. The sea gets the best color when the Sun is high in the sky. This is especially true when you shoot from heights like a cliff or a helicopter. Depending on the seabed and water depth, you could get deep blue or blazing cyan.

Technique #1. Use A Wide Range Of Lenses. Again, the classic approach is to use the widest lens and rush ahead with snapping photos. However, this can limit your creativity and photography opportunities. Of course, the wide-angle lens is still the leading choice. But other lenses can be helpful too. Wide lenses exaggerate the foreground and make all distant objects much smaller than they appear to the naked eye.


With its ever-changing, elusive, and dangerous at the same time, seascape and icescape photography are both more accessible and more challenging than traditional landscape photography. Armed with these seascape photography tips, go ahead and grab your camera and tripod and give it a try.


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