Surf Photography Equipment: First 5 are Must-haves

Surf photography equipment
A set of gears for surf photography

What best surf photography equipment do I need for thrilling and rewarding shots? How can you ensure that you have the right tools for the job?

In this gear guide, I’ll dive into the surf photography equipment and answer all your questions today.

As per my experience, I’ll discuss specialized cameras and lenses, tripods, fins, and protective gear. I’ll help you gear up and get ready to make a splash with your surf photography.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, I’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling!

Camera Equipment for Surfing Photography

What do you need for surf photography? The first thing is to have the right camera equipment.

From choosing between DSLR and mirrorless cameras to selecting the best lenses and tripods, there are many factors to consider in surf camera gear.

Let’s go through each of the various types of camera equipment that can help you capture stunning surf shots.

1.      DSLR vs Mirrorless Cameras

A photograph of a DSLR camera on a beach
A DSLR camera on a beach

What camera is used for surf photography?

We have two main options: DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

DSLRs are known for their fast autofocus and ability to handle high-speed continuous shooting, making them a popular choice for action photography.

Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, are smaller and lighter, making them easier to carry around and use for extended periods.

Ultimately, the choice between DSLR and mirrorless cameras comes down to personal preference and shooting style.

However, there are also options such as action cameras, waterproof cameras, bridge cameras, and more.

If you’re looking for a buyer’s guide on DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, or other camera options, check out my latest article on the best surf photography cameras to find the most suitable camera, with professional reviews.

You may be preferred to shoot in-water surfing photography. No worries, the article on the best action camera for snorkeling is for you.

2.      Lenses for Surf Photography

A photograph of a collection of lenses
A collection of lenses

Selecting the right lens is another important step for capturing stunning surf shots.

A telephoto lens with a focal length of 70-200mm or longer is recommended, as it allows you to capture the action from a distance without getting too close to the waves.

The following video gives a clear idea of using telephoto lenses for surf photography.

Besides, a wide-angle lens can help you capture the grandeur of the ocean and the surrounding landscape.

By the way, do you want to take an in-depth look at the right lenses for your surfing photography shoot? Awesome, the best lens for surf photography from the beach guide is perfect for you.

Keep in mind that investing in a high-quality lens is important, as it can significantly impact the overall quality of your images.

3.      Tripods and Monopods

A man waiting to take a photo of the surfing with a camera setup with a tripod
A man looking to take a photo of the surf with a camera setup with a tripod

In surf photography, stability is essential to capture sharp and detailed images.

So, I always recommend using a tripod or monopod when capturing surf photography from the beach or land since they provide the necessary stability for your camera and help ensure that your shots are sharp and free of blur.

A tripod is ideal for shooting at a lower angle, while a monopod is more portable and versatile, allowing you to shoot from different locations.

Consider investing in a carbon fiber tripod or monopod, as they are lightweight and sturdy.

·         Best Tripod for Surf Photography

I can recommend a few tripods that have always helped me capture the best shots in my surfing photoshoots.

        I.            Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 tripod for surfing photography
Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3
  • This carbon fiber tripod is durable, lightweight, and versatile.
  • Its sturdy build makes it ideal for use in windy and unpredictable weather conditions.
  • It also has a maximum height of 170 cm, which allows you to capture wide-angle shots from various perspectives.

So, if you are interested, you can check its latest price.

      II.            Gitzo GT5563GS Systematic
Gitzo GT5563GS Systematic tripod for surf photography
Gitzo GT5563GS Systematic

The Gitzo GT5563GS Systematic is a heavy-duty tripod designed for professional use.

It features a modular design that allows you to customize it according to your needs, making it a great choice for surf photographers who need flexibility in their equipment.

Besides, a maximum height of 278 cm will offer, which is great for shooting from elevated angles.

    III.            Induro Alloy 8M AT214 Tripod

The Induro Alloy 8M AT214 Tripod is another great option for surf photographers who are looking for a sturdy and affordable tripod.

It has a maximum height of 145 cm and can support up to 8 kg of weight, making it ideal for use with heavier cameras and lenses.

It also features a quick-release plate for easy mounting and dismounting of your camera.

4.      Buy Underwater Housing for your Cameras

A camera water housing in mid-air
A camera water housing is hanging air

If you want to take your surf photography to the next level, consider investing in an underwater housing for your camera.

This allows you to take shots from inside the wave, providing a unique and dynamic perspective.

If you want some recommendations with reviews for the best camera housings for surf photography, reach the bottom of the article on the best surf photography cameras.

Before you purchase an underwater housing, pay attention to whether it is compatible with your camera model and has the necessary seals to keep your camera safe from water damage.

5.      Importance of Weather Sealing

Surf photography often involves shooting in harsh weather conditions, including saltwater, sand, and wind.

So, this makes weather sealing an essential feature for your camera equipment.

Weather sealing can protect your camera from water and dust damage, ensuring it remains functional in challenging environments.

When selecting your camera equipment, look for weather sealing as a key feature to ensure durability and longevity.

Surf Photography Accessories

In addition to your camera and tripod, several accessories can help you capture stunning surf shots.

1.      External Flashes and Strobes for Surf Photography

Even in bright sunlight, shadows can still create an unflattering look.

External flashes for surf photography and also strobes can help you overcome this problem by providing an additional light source.

They can help you capture more vibrant colors, and create more depth and contrast in your photos.

Make sure to choose a flash or strobe compatible with your camera, and consider investing in one with a powerful output.

2.      Filters for Different Lighting Conditions

Filters are an essential tool for surf photographers.

They can help you capture more balanced and accurate colors in different lighting conditions.

For example;

  • A polarizing filter can help reduce glare and enhance colors on bright, sunny days.
  • A neutral density filter can help you capture longer exposures on cloudy days.

There are also specialized filters for shooting in low light, as well as for correcting color casts in post-processing.

3.      Memory Cards and Storage Devices

When shooting surf photography, we’re likely to capture a lot of photos.

That means you’ll need plenty of storage space to hold all your files.

So, try to invest in high-quality memory cards with plenty of storage space and fast write speeds.

You may also want to consider investing in an external hard drive or cloud storage service to back up your files and keep them safe.

4.      Cleaning Kits for Cameras and Lenses

Saltwater, sand, and dust can quickly accumulate on your camera and lenses when shooting surf photography, so it’s important to keep them clean and well-maintained.

A cleaning kit with a microfiber cloth, lens cleaning solution, and a blower can help you remove any debris or smudges that might be affecting your photos.

Don’t forget to clean your gear regularly to ensure that it stays in good working order and that your photos remain clear and sharp.

This video always gives a good guide to cleaning my camera and lenses. So I hope this works for you too.

Clothing and Protective needed for Surf Photography

A photo of a pair of fins with a camera
Pair of fins with a camera

Surf photography requires not only the right camera equipment or accessories but also the right clothing and protective gear.

1.      Wetsuits and Swimwear

A wetsuit is a must-have item for photographers who are capturing images from the water.

It not only keeps you warm but also protects your skin from the abrasive effects of saltwater.

Besides, you must choose swimwear that is comfortable and allows you to move freely.

2.      Sun Protection Gear

Sun protection gear is another essential item for surf photographers.

Spending long hours in the sun can be damaging to your skin, so it’s important to protect yourself with hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

A wide-brimmed hat can provide shade for your face and neck, while sunglasses will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Sunscreen should be applied generously and reapplied throughout the day, especially if you’re in the water.

3.      Fins for Surf Photography

Another helpful tool for surf photography is a pair of fins.

If you want to get closer to the action and capture better shots, then wear fins that help you swim faster and more efficiently, allowing you to.

When choosing fins, look for ones that are comfortable to wear and provide good propulsion.

It’s also important to choose fins that are suitable for the type of waves you’ll be shooting in.

Keep in mind, some fins are designed for small waves, while others are better suited for larger, more powerful waves.


In conclusion, capturing the perfect shot in surf photography requires the right equipment and protective gear.

From choosing the right camera and lenses to investing in tripods, underwater housings, and filters, every piece of gear plays an important role.

Additionally, protective clothing and sun protection gear are necessary to keep you safe and comfortable during long hours in the water.

With the right gear and preparation, you can capture stunning images of surfers and the ocean that truly capture the beauty and excitement of this sport.

Finally, you should follow the surf photography tips and techniques available for perfect photos in surf photography. I hope you have already read my complete guide to surfing photography and are following the best tips I mentioned there.