We Simplify The Technical!

Tom Schifanella teaches how to get those awesome photographs of waves.

The Understand Photography Show is a teaching show so if you are

interested in wave photography, watch this episode!

We also talk about drone photography and how Tom got published

in National Geographic twice!

*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*

Episode 156

Wave Photography – How to Capture Amazing Photographs of Waves with Tom Schifanella


Surfers and Waves

  • Check weather and surf forecasts – Surfline.com
  • Waves are fickle, they could last anywhere from 6 hours to several days.
  • Watch and wait for just the right wave conditions – then look for good light.
  • Move along the surf line to get into position – usually waist to chest deep in the water.
  • Get a feel for what the surfer is doing – stay out of their line!
  • The best shots have the sun highlighting the backs of the waves while the fronts are in shadow.
  • A three-quarter angle helps give a sense of depth and includes background.
  • Surf housing allows for unique points of view from within the waves.

-Different from Underwater housing.

-Lighter, allows for one-handed control.

Tom’s Gear


Wave Tips

  • Become familiar with the waves and the surfers.
  • Look at weather forecasts and wave conditions. It can be dangerous out there!
  • Get the best housing you can afford if you want to take your photography to the next level.
  • Be PATIENT and PRACTICE! There is a HUGE learning curve.


Drone Photography

  • DJI Mavic 2  – excellent Hasselblad camera
  • Shoot in RAW mode for easier manipulation in post-processing.
  • Able to take single shots or use in burst mode.
  • Gimble can be adjusted to change the angle of your view.
  • Steep learning curve – practice, practice, practice!
  • Research is very important!

– You are the pilot of an aircraft and must follow the rules and regulations for that airspace.

– Apps and online sites are available to look up restrictions for each area.  (DJI FlySafe)

– Drones are ILLEGAL in some countries and will be confiscated (and quite possibly never returned to you).

– Google Earth is a great tool to find amazing locations for aerial photographs.


Drone Tips

  • Read the manual 3 times.
  • Watch YouTube videos.
  • Think like a pilot.
  • Prepare – know the applicable laws for the areas you plan to visit.
  • Be patient and practice. Use beginner mode to learn controls.


Getting Published

– Your submitted images are stored in an online gallery on their site -FREE.

– Editors leave constructive comments that help you grow as an artist.

– The captions you submit can be just as important as the images.

  • Check out calls for entries for photographers.

– Look for exhibits or shows that fit your work.

– Submit images based on themes for contests and galleries all over the world.

Lenscratch.com , CallForEntries.com , Aperture.org


Finding Tom


Instagram – @Tom.in.abf

Nat Geo YourShot


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General Notes

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Upcoming Trips:

Tuscany Ladies Photo Workshop and Tour – 
Sept 28 – Oct 5, 2019

Ladies Luxury African Photo Safari and Tour
Sept. 19-30, 2020

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Gear Recommendation of the Week



At the size of a mini tablet and only 13 oz, Max fits in any camera bag. Max is for large equipment, like DSLR and video cameras with long telephoto or the heavy macro lens.. Don’t be fooled by Max’s slim stature—it will be the most reliable tool in your gear bag!




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