Photography Cheat Sheet: Shutter Speeds for Shooting by the Beach

If you’re planning to hit up a scenic beach for some landscape snaps, we have just the photography cheat sheet you can use.

Beaches and bodies of water are among the favorite shooting locations of landscape photographers: they offer a variety of stunning scenes to photograph. A single location by the beach, for example, can be photographed with moving water for dramatic results or freezing waves for a more strong image. If a landscape photography shoot somewhere scenic and seaside is in order for you, we’re sure today’s photography cheat sheet will provide some tips for making the most out of your shoot.

The cheat sheet below, put together by Anton Gorlin for PiktoChart, covers the best shutter speeds for the different shooting situations a photographer may encounter when shooting along the seaside. Each recommended shutter speed creates a certain effect for either freezing or blurring the movement of water.

Since you’re shooting landscape photos, this guide assumes you’ll mostly be shooting with an aperture of at least f11 and ISO 100 to keep the entire scene tack-sharp. The slow shutter speeds of 1/10 sec to 30 sec will work great for long exposures, as long as you prop your camera on a tripod to keep it stable. Each slow shutter speed setting yields a certain effect; for example, a 30-sec shutter speed will produce smooth or foggy water in the photo.

Now, if you want to freeze moving water, say, a big wave crashing over some rock formation along the shoreline, a 1/500 sec shutter speed will do the trick. You will have to increase your ISO and shoot in shutter speed priority mode to be able to capture a well-exposed shot. For slow-moving water, 1/100 or 1/200 sec should be enough to freeze its movement in your shot.

Additional readings:

Blur Moving Water with Slow Shutter Speeds

Capturing Moving Water in Landscape Snaps

Need more photography tips and tricks like this? Don’t forget to check out our photography cheat sheet collection to find more that will come in handy for your next shoot and projects!