Undoubtedly one of the great joys of diving is capturing what you see and experience while in the watery deep. We’re as passionate about underwater photography as we are about diving in general. Which we image is shared with most divers, especially those who have invested in one of the best underwater cameras for diving.
Even if you have been taking snaps underwater for some time now, the switch to moving images can be a tricky one. However, you’ll find our guide for using your GoPro for underwater video compelling and informative.
Easy Guide to Underwater Photography
What though, if you are just looking to pick up some new hints and tips to improve those basic underwater photography skills you’ve got locked down? In the following post that’s what we’re gifting you.
Before we get stuck into some great tips for beginners and experts, covering all levels of skill, we’re going to look at some of the easy to make mistakes that many people do (mainly beginners).
Underwater Photography Mistakes All Beginners Need to Avoid
- Using way too much saturation. When really you should just increase the saturation be 5 to 10%
- Try to photograph a busy coral reef within one photo. When you should look at isolating specific subjects on and around the reef for a less cluttered and more focused image.
- Having a background full of distractions.
- Taking shots through too much water. Never try to take a picture of a subject that’s over 2 or 3-feet away from you.
- Always taking shots in landscape mode. It’s much better to take a mixture of both, using portrait mode at least 50% of the time.
- Lack of the necessary amount of sharpness in your photographs.
- Shooting without enough color. The best way around this is by using strobes. Fast shutter speed will block any ambient light out. You should also consider getting in closer to your subject.
- Not having enough contrast in your images. Again, the use of strobes helps here as does getting closer to your subject.
Tips for Shooting Underwater for Beginners
These are the kinds of things all self-respecting underwater snappers should know.
- Finetune your diving skills before you start taking pictures underwater.
- As the water reduces the sharpness, contrast, and color, so get closer to subjects, at least 12-inches from them/it.
- Although you can use a contrast increase at the post-processing stage, it’s important to avoid overdoing it.
- When underwater images don’t look as sharp as you’d like, you need to think about the shutter speed you are using.
- It really should set at 1/125th for fast-moving fish, 1/60th for slow-moving fish and objects and 1/30th for objects and subjects that are still.
- To focus quickly, use the spot focus option.
- Always shoot with the sun behind you when using natural light and only in an area of 20ft.
- Practice and master the skill of using the aperture priority or manual mode if you have a camera with this option, as this will help you to have control over the balance of light from the flash and natural light.
- Always use the automatic white balance when you are using a strobe or flash and underwater mode or customized white balance when you aren’t.
- Always ensure the eyes of your subject are fully in focus.
Tips for Shooting Underwater for Advanced Photographers
This is for the more skilled and experienced.
- Always try to previsualize your images
- Get your images as close to perfect on camera as possible. All experienced and skilled photographers need to do very little in the processing stage back in front of their computer.
- Always approach subjects slowly, especially wildlife, never from above but at their level and take the time to observe them before taking shots.
- Use the best equipment you can afford, especially avoiding cutting corners with inexpensive strobes and lens.
- Always consider the type of lens and whether it’s right for the kind of shot you are looking to achieve
- Make proper use of your DOF and if necessary, deliberately blur out backgrounds that cause a distraction.
- Think in terms of diagonal compositions
- Always think about choosing the best color combinations
- Always consider the background of any image, whether it’s a wide-angled one or a close-up and focused one.
- Take inspiration from other underwater photographers, but always aim to do your own thing. Remember the phrase ‘imitate, then innovate’ to get original and unique shots.
- If you are using a DSLR camera and macro lens, try moving the center focus point to allow you to focus better on the rhinophores or eyes of who or what you are shooting, without needing to keep the focal point of the image in the center.
Hopefully, with the help of this comprehensive list of underwater photography tips guide, you will be taking National Geographic standard images in no time. The final note we’d like to say is that even if that’s still a long way off, keep practicing and never give up.