When shooting waves or landscapes in low light, try slowing your shutter speed down to 5, 10 or even 30 seconds. This allows the camera to take in more light and to flatten out the waves that are moving faster than your shutter. The result? A beautiful seascape of smooth water and saturated colors. Just be sure you have a stable surface to minimize blur.
Take the time to think about where things are in the frame of your photograph. If there’s a horizon in sight, make sure it’s level. (Smart phone cameras typically include a grid setting that helps with this.) If you’re photographing people or objects, think about the rule of thirds, which places the focus in one-third of the frame while leaving the other two-thirds as background. The only wrong way to compose a photograph is to not think about composition at all, so mix it up until you find your perfect shot.
Shooting with a smartphone rather than a traditional camera? Tip #1 is to clean your lens! Sounds simple, but so many of us forget to do it. Use the inside of your shirt or a microfiber cloth to remove the dust, dirt and smears that collect as your phone rides around in your pocket or purse all day. Trust us: Your photos will turn out much crisper, and your day on the water will look even more true to life.