You can capture extraordinary landscapes at the beach using a simple technique called Shutter Drag. In this video, I’ll show you how to perfect this technique in 5 super simple steps.

Video: The Ultimate 5 Step Shutter Drag Reference Guide

Related Reading: 10 Step Guide to Shutter Drag Portraits

Step #1: What You’ll Need For Shutter Drag

  1. A camera that allows manual shutter control. I’m on the Sony A74 mirrorless camera.
  2. A wide angle lens to exaggerate the motion such as the Sigma 16-28mm f/2.8.
  3. A sturdy tripod. I’m using the Peak Design Travel Tripod.

Step #2: Find Your Composition

Before you fix your camera on your tripod, find your basic composition. Get in the action and look for the direction of the water. To get exaggerated motion, capture the motion as it moves across the frame, rather than towards the camera.

Step #3: Dial In Your Composition

Once you have an idea of your composition, secure your camera and tripod in place. Now, you can find your exact framing.

Step #4: Set Your Exposure

shutter drag speed variations
The slower the shutter speed, the “silkier” the motion.

To capture the motion, we need to slow down the shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed, the silkier the water will appear. My preferred shutter speed for shutter drag landscapes at the beach is around 2 seconds.

Step #5: Photograph Away!

shutter drag beach
Edited with Visual Flow > Pure Presets

Now wait for the right motion and start photographing! Since you’re working with a slow shutter speed, it’s a good idea to use a remote shutter to prevent camera shake. You can also shoot at a high frame rate to capture an entire sequence of images.

shutter drag landscape
Edited with Visual Flow > Pure Presets

Change up your compositions and capture more incredible shutter drag landscapes!


I hope you enjoyed this article/video and give the shutter drag a try and see what great images you come up with! To learn more incredible in-camera special effects, check out our Advanced SFX Course on SLR Lounge Premium! There, you’ll find A-Z guides on many photography related subjects that can help you advance your photography career. You can also visit Visual Flow for a complete library of Lightroom presets and retouching tools.

Don’t miss our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!