Matt Kolodziejczyk: Surf Photographer

Beyond The Frame

Welcome to another episode of Surf Bank's Beyond The Frame where we dive into the captivating world of surf and ocean photography, going beyond mesmerising captures exploring the backstory of many talented photographers. In this episode we will be hearing from Matt Kolodziejczyk a surf photographer who was part of the Motion Capture team for the blockbuster Avatar: The Way of Wateri. Beyond the frame aims to inspire and inform future surf photographers and ocean lovers being your backstage pass to detailed insights from the minds behind stunning surf shots.

Matt Kolodziejczyk Gallery

What Did Your Childhood Look Like?

I was a very active kid. I did all the extreme sports, from hockey to surfing, rock climbing, scuba diving, skiing.

What Came First, Surfing or Photography?

Surfing for me.

How Did You Get Into Surf Photography?

I was working on Avatar: The Way of Water, on the Motion Capture side of the film - specifically the Underwater Motion Capture. There, I met the underwater Director of Photography, Pete Zuccarini, who has worked on various films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Life of Phi, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I saw he was shooting on a RED and I was curious about his housing due to my scuba background. From there we started chatting about different types of housings, when he finally said, "hey I have a surf housing would you like to borrow it!" I was like yes I would love too. Showed me how to set it up and from there I was off to the races.

Where Do You Normally Shoot?

I normally shoot at Malibu Surfrider Beach.

Photo By Matt Kolodziejczyk

Where Do You Shoot? Water or Land?

I love to shoot from the water. Being close to the action is my favorite. But when the waves are super big and or the currents are strong I then choose to shoot from land!

What Makes The Perfect Image?

That is a tricky one!!! In the end beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me I think a perfect image should provoke a feeling first and foremost. And there's many different techniques that can be used to help convey that feeling. For example, sometimes I will do a slow shutter to create blur vs other times the image may be tact sharp in the pocket, where you can see every spec of water. Lighting is also a big factor that I take into consideration with every shot.

How Did You Become So Involved In The Surf Scene?

Just by showing up. With Malibu being my home break, and it being one of the best waves on the west coast of California, its introduced a lot of awesome people into my world. Snap a few good frames and boom! - you know have a conversation starter. Which then leads to linking up with people and creating images. I also have people that have found my work through the social media world and we've connected that way to schedule shoots.

Do You Have A Favourite Photographer That Has Inspired You?

I have a few. Clark Little has always been inspiring to me. His colors are some of my favorite. On the opposite of bright colors - Matt Clark for his contrasting looks and Annie Leibovitz for her dynamic portraits.

What's Your Biggest Challenge To Overcome When Shooting?

Good weather. You'd probably find me in the ocean every day if the conditions were right.

Photo By Matt Kolodziejczyk

Matt's Equipment List

Camera & Lenses

Matt normally shoots with with FujiFilm XT-3, Red Komodo using these lenses: FujiFilm 16-55mm 2.8, 50-140mm 2.8 Canon 16-35mm 2.8.

Water Housing

When it comes to water housing, Matt uses a variation of AquaTech, Salty Surf Housing and Iklite for dive housing.


When it comes to filming with a drone, Matt uses the Mavic 2 Pro.


When Matt is shooting she won't go without these key items: Kassia Surf supplies his wetsuits. Yucca Fins for speed. Gath protects his brain.

Party Wave By Matt Kolodziejczyk

Favourite Surf Trips & Brands To Work With

There's too many great trips and stories to pick just one to tell you, but one of my absolute favorite brands to work with is Kassia Surf. Not only does she make an amazing product, but Kassia is kind-hearted, genuine, and always stoked on life and surfing.

Matt's Future Plans

I have some short form video projects I am working on at the moment. One being an all women surf film, along with maybe some sort of Mexico project! At the end of January 2024 I will be in Bali chasing some waves with a few friends.

Follow @mattkolo

You can keep up to date with Matt's new projects and recent captures on his Instagram, as well as contacting him by dropping a direct message or emailing him at

Do You Want To Be Involved In Beyond The Frame?

Are you a surf photographer wanting your story told? You may be our next Beyond The Frame feature! Please get in touch with us over email so we can get a conversation going:

Photo By Matt Kolodziejczyk

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