Top 10 Underwater Photography Tips

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Taking photos under water can be a completely different experience. But it can be a very fun experience as well, if you know what you are doing and if you have the right equipment. Here are the top 10 tips for ensuring that you have the best underwater photos possible.

  1. The Most Important Rule is Safety First

It is important to think about the fact that when you are not on dry land you have a completely different set of issues and you need to know how to keep the animals you are taking shots of, and yourself, safe. One of the most important things to think about when you are under the water is buoyancy control. It is important to ensure that your diving skills are where they need to be before you are concerned with your photography skills. You will learn how to get close to the animals without touching them and without harming them. You need to learn how to hover as a starting point.

  1. Use Simple Gear to Get Started

When interviewing many other underwater photographers, they all agree that you are not going to need complex gear when you are getting started. Instead, you can get away with a simple compact camera that has waterproof settings. You want to make sure that you are familiar with the difference in the camera. It is possible to use very affordable equipment - some professionals are using cameras that cost more than ten thousand dollars. There is no reason for that when you’re just getting started.

  1. Have the Correct Lens

When it comes to lenses, you need to know what you are going to shoot. You need to have a wide-angle lens when you are dealing with larger subjects as well as have a macro lens for things that may be distorted. That means that the closer that you are getting to your subject, the clearer chance you are going to have at a great shot. It is also important to make sure that you have waterproof housing which will allow you to swap out lenses while still under the water. This will allow you to get the right shot, at the right moment.

  1. Know All of Your Settings

When it comes to finding what is going to work for you, you need to make sure that you know what is best for your camera. There are many photographers who start off with aperture settings in the beginning, and then many others will begin with the shutter speed. It is important to think not only about how fast your subject is moving, but it is important to think about how you are going to be moving as well. That means that aperture priority mode will not be the best choice when you are shooting a fast subject.

When it comes to color, there are many photographers who are using Auto White Balance, that will allow them to correct their RAW files later. That works very well when you are shooting, but when you are in ambient light it may make it more difficult.

  1. Know Where the Light Is

Water is a filter that will devour the spectrum of reds. When you go deeper into the water, you will have more blue shots. In order to know that you have the correct color tones, it is important to make sure that you are close, or you will need to have external lighting.

There are many photographers who are leaning on using strobe or even flash lighting, that ensures that they can bring back the color to a photo. Strobes are only going to light the foreground of the photo and that means that the background needs to have a little bit of light as well as a faster shutter speed. When you are far away from the subject there are going to be more particles as well that will add a haze to the shot.

  1. Know Where You Are Diving

One thing you need to know is where and how you are diving. In many places you can walk into the water from the beach, however, there are going to be other places that you are going to have to jump in from a boat. It is important to check with other local photographers who might have some thoughts and suggestions about where to dive. It is important to talk to someone who has had recent experience in that area.

  1. Know Your Timing

When you are looking at your time, it is important to think about all your oxygen levels and then look at all the parts of the shots you are taking and ensure that you are not going to take longer. There are some parts like framing, adjusting, and dealing with the way that you interact with wildlife that are going to take you longer than expected. Many of the veteran photographers might advise that you are going to need about 3x the amount of time that you need for a shot on land. Make sure that you are prepared to deal with the extra time and equipment required.

  1. Ensure You Are Familiar with Your Subject

You need to do your homework about every animal that you are going to be photographing. That means that you need to know what kind of risk they also are going to pose to your safety. You are going to need to look at how they behave as well as why they are going to shy away from you. There are some that you are going to be able to get very close to without any issue. You need to know the difference between similar animals, such as the various types of rays. You will have better shots as well as ensure that you are keeping both parties safe. You never want your subject to sneak up on you. You always want to be in control of the situation.

  1. Make Sure You Are Comfortable

One thing that is very important is making sure that you are comfortable. When you are, you are going to be doing a much better job. Staying warm can be hard, so it’s important to ensure that you are wearing the best scuba kit. You also are going to need to think about renting a wetsuit if you cannot afford your own gear. Fins and flippers will make your mobility easier as well to get the shots you need.

  1. Take a Different Approach

When you are looking at a creature, there may be many shots of the same kind. You want to try to capture a part of the animal that has not been shot before. It is important to do your homework and create new images that come from a unique perspective. You need to make sure that you have the best frames as well as the best angles.

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