Ocean Photography

My favourite ocean images of 2019 by Hannah Prewitt

Nikon Australia just posted the finalists for the Surf Photo of the Year competition. There are some amazing images in the final 20, but I’ll be honest, there are a couple that just don’t do it for me. I guess that’s part of the joy of photography - it’s all subjective. Anyway, in light of this competition, I thought I’d share 10 of my favourite ocean images that I’ve come across so far this year.

  1. Greg Lecoeur

Greg Lecoeur - favourite ocean images of 2019_sealion.png

I believe this photo was taken in 2017, but Greg shared it on his Instagram this year. Greg Lecoeur is a french photographer who lives in the ocean and shoots all kinds of amazing marine creatures. But my favourite has to be this crazy cute shot of a sea lion sitting on the seafloor. He’s shot for National Geographic and all his photos are available to purchase as prints on his website.

2. Warren Keelan

Warren Keelan - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

I couldn’t possibly create a portfolio of beautiful ocean images without including this guy. Warren is a seascape and ocean photographer based in New South Wales, and his photos are often abstract like this one. Absolutely beautiful! Check his website for prints.

3. Alex Voyer

Alex Voyer - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

Alex is a french photographer who I believe spends a lot of time doing trips on this boat called Diatomée (but the website is all in french!). He shoots in some cold water and his freediving shots are also fantastic, but I’m just drawn to this incredible motion shot of this boat. He’s captured it in a way that makes me feel as if I’m on it too. Alex doesn’t seem to have a website but you can see more of his photos on his Instagram.

4. Mitch Gilmore

Mitch Gilmore - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

Mitch lives on the Gold Coast and shoots solely with a GoPro. I love the clarity of the water he captures, and this shot where you can so clearly see the city too is just gold. Mitch doesn’t have a website but you can find more of his photography on his Instagram.

5. Jess Parkes

Jess Parkes - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

Well it’s about time I included a female ocean photographer! Jess is based in Byron Bay and shoots all kinds of things but her ocean images are my favourite. She brings a feminine feel to the ocean. Jess also doesn’t have her own website but you can check her Instagram for more beautiful imagery.

6. Phil De Glanville

Phil de Glanville - favourite ocean images of 2019_sharks.png

Phil is another Aussie-based ocean photographer but he only uses a drone. I personally have a hard time enjoying aerial photos anymore, since the internet has become so saturated with them, but Phil brings a really unique style to drone imagery. His photos are moody and full of contrast and he quite often shoots my favourite animals - sharks. Check out more of his work on his Instagram.

7. Paul Smith

Paul Smith - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

Noosa-based photographer Paul Smith actually had an image included in the 20 finalists of the 2019 Nikon Surf Photo of the Year competition but I much prefer this one. He shot this on Noosa’s main beach during Cyclone Oma. I’ve seen this printed large in his gallery, and it’s simply stunning. Check out more of his work on his website.

8. Brandon Verdura

Brandon Verdura - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

I’ve admired Brandon’s work for quite some time. He’s based in Hawaii and his underwater images are high in contrast and moody - just the sort of stuff I love - but this image of palm trees reflecting in the water is one of those I could never get sick of looking at. You can see more of Brandon’s work on his website.

9. Kirvan Baldassari

Kirvan Baldassari - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

I only came across the work of this Tahitian photographer very recently and found his images to be very memorable. Living in the tropics he naturally shoots surfing, sharks, palm trees and beaches, but his wave photos are the ones that capture me. You can see more of his tropical images on his website.

10. Alana Spencer

Alana Spencer - favourite ocean images of 2019.png

I’ve finished off with what is probably my favourite surf image of all time. Hawaiian-based photographer Alana Spencer is the name behind the brand Coconut Comradery. Her style is vintage-tropical and, similar to Jess Parkes (#5) she brings an air of femininity to her photos.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully I’ve introduced you to some new names that you might want to continue following. I’d love to know which one is your favourite. Leave me a comment below.

My favourite ocean images of 2019

Tutorial: How to create beautiful ocean panning shots by Hannah Prewitt

Recently, I posted a couple of ocean panning images on social media. People responded really well to them, and I quickly received a lot of questions asking how to do a shot like that. So, I thought I'd write a quick tutorial explaining my process.

2.5s, f/22, ISO 64

2.5s, f/22, ISO 64


So what's the technique? Well, it's a panning shot, which means that you need to move the camera whilst taking the image. So ideally, you'll need a tripod to keep your camera nice and steady, but I have achieved many great panning shots without one, just using my body to stabilise the camera as much as possible. While the shutter is open, you'll need to slowly move your camera from left to right. I personally like to start moving the camera before pressing the shutter, as I find it helps to make the shot much smoother.

1.6s, f/9, ISO 320

1.6s, f/9, ISO 320


This type of shot is a long exposure, which means that the shutter is open for a relatively long time. How long is up to you. Start with 1 second, and then experiment around that. I usually find that 1.6 seconds creates a pretty good image. Of course it depends on what you're shooting and how fast everything is moving. Play around with it to find what works for you. Chances are, you'll have to take quite a few shots before getting one you're happy with. Bear in mind, that because we're doing a long exposure, you'll need it to either be dark enough to avoid blowing out your image, or use an ND filter if there is too much light.

2s, f/14, ISO 200

2s, f/14, ISO 200

What do you shoot?

Obviously we're shooting the ocean. But what the waves are doing is going to have a huge impact on your final image. The image above was taken from the clifftop overlooking a peeling point break in Bali. But shooting from the shore of a beach break is going to give you different results, because the waves are more shifty and there's probably going to be some white water (which is how I achieved the different colours in this shot below).

1.6s, f/4.5, ISO 400

1.6s, f/4.5, ISO 400

Also, if you have clouds in your photo, then the final image will look different compared to a clear sky. Personally, I think clear skies work best.

And it's as simple as that! Hopefully you're now able to take your own awesome ocean panning shots. Please feel free to tag me or send me your images. I'd love to see them!

Tutorial how to create beautiful ocean panning photos