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SUP Photography - 6 Essential Tips You Need to Know

So you have fallen in love with Stand Up Paddle Boarding and no doubt have had some pretty memorable experiences while out on the water. Capturing those moments on camera might seem a bit challenging at first. Of course, you have to balance, handle the camera, paddle, see the shot, take the shot and generally hope that you do justice to what you are looking at. Sound tough? Well not really. With a little bit of preparation, practice and a general willingness to just plain experiment you will soon be capturing images that are sure to impress! Here’s some stand up paddle board photography tips to get you started.

 Paddle Board in a photogenic setting

 

1 - Before you head out on the water

Today you have a great many water proof action camera options available to you. Whether it be a camera, GoPro or your phone make sure you read the water proofing instructions – and follow them.


Attach it to a float – guaranteed you will drop it in the water. Really. You will.
Get familiar with the controls on land first. In general auto or sports mode will be adequate to get you started. Practice shooting one handed – make sure you can squeeze the trigger while keeping your fingers and thumbs out of the way of the lens.


Ensure the camera is fully charged and has lots and lots of space on the SD card.

 camera gear for SUP photography

 

2 - While on the water

Keep the lens free and clear of water droplets and other stuff. Like dirt, debris, fingers and thumbs.  Nothing worse than getting back to shore and discovering your perfect shots are ruined by something on the lens. A lens cloth is handy for cleaning the lens. Put the camera in your pocket out of the elements for a few minutes if you notice the lens starting to fog.

Paddle Boarders at Sunset

3 - Line up your shot

Most importantly get your SUP in the shot. It completes the story. This is a bit of an exercise in trial and error.


First get low on the board. Kneel or sit down and keep yourself stable. Try different angles – include the nose or tail of the board in the shot. Try holding the camera out to the side and shooting across the board. With practice, you will quickly get to know your angles.


A camera with a flip up screen makes lining up the shot super easy. You simply look down at the screen, frame the shot, fix your horizon and shoot! No flip up screen? Set your camera to display images for at least 3 seconds. Take your shot and you will have enough time to double check your image.


When just starting out having the sun at your back will give you the best chance at a correct exposure. However, it’s best to get to know your camera. Newer cameras will often fix potential exposure errors for you.

Two Paddle Boarders in a photoshoot

 

4 - Pick your point of interest

What catches your eye? Is it an unusual land formations, expansive coastline, a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, fellow paddlers having fun, mirror like water, spectacular waves or maybe just maybe you will be lucky enough to come across a creature of the sea? Highlighting a focal point showcases you in your element. Take lots and lots of images.

 Two kids paddle boarding in calm water

 

5 - The golden hours

The best time of day for stand up paddle boarding just happens to be the best lighting of the day for SUP photography. Sun rise and sun set make for beautifully saturated golden images. Shoot with the sun low in the sky for the best effect.

Paddle Boarders at Sunset

 

6 - You don’t need a selfie stick; the paddle works perfectly

Your paddle is the perfect replacement for a selfie stick. Have a GoPro? Attach it to your paddle with a GoPro roll bar mount and experiment. Stick it up in the air and grab a shot of yourself and your board. Or try dipping it in the water for that cool underwater perspective!

 View of a Paddle Board from Underwater

 

Parting Shot - Now go break the rules

Shoot into the sun. Sun flares can be cool. You just never know!


Have a tip we have missed, or just want to share a cool image you have taken? Comment below or email us at info@cruisersup.com!

 

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