9 Tips that will make you better Underwater photographer

Everyone can succeed in underwater photography

Underwater photography is without a doubt one of the hottest fields among many scuba divers. The digital photography evolution in the last decade made the subject to be accessible for almost every diver with accessible prices. Today novice photographers with the love for photography can get amazing photos as professional photographers with years of experience by using digital cameras.

All around the world they are underwater conventions and competitions with wide variety of underwater photography fans, this allows those who takes underwater photography as a hobby to show their photos along with professional photographers. Sea conditions and many types of accessories made for the compact cameras fill the gap of the advantage of using expensive photography equipment and previous preparations, this puts the talent of each individual as main factor.

In this article we will explain few subjects that will improve your underwater photography skills

1. Patience:

The underwater photographer talent is mostly the ability to have patience in order to be able to catch memorable amazing natural moments. Patient photographer blends in the nature without disturb its surroundings and allows the marine life to get use to its presence without being a threat. The underwater photographer often takes its eyes out of the viewfinder and looks around while showing sensitivity and respect to the marine life in their natural habitat. This is how you can photograph interesting behaviors by getting closer to the marine creatures.

2. Know how to operate the photography equipment

In order to get the perfect results such as sharp image and correctly exposed we should know our camera in the best possible way (simple and professional alike), we should read thoughtfully its user manual. Nowadays even simple point-and-shoot cameras have various of features and shooting programs, in order to get better results underwater it is recommended not to use the automatic functions (not even the “underwater”). It is highly recommended to try the different functions our camera have on land, outside of the water, until we understand each function, when we should use each function and how to use each function in the best possible way. In addition, if we use any accessories such as lenses and/or strobes underwater it is necessary that we will know how to use them properly.

3. Ideas and inspirations

Share your photos with experienced photographers that can give you tips and improvement comments, search the internet for underwater photography forums and websites to get inspiration and ideas. Just remember that even if you are diving and photographing in the same website and photographing the same object, it is almost impossible to get the same photo. Don’t hesitate to come back and photograph the same object in the same place using different styles, angles, lenses and strobes.

Try to include different elements in your photos for example: fish + coral + diver in the background.

4. Using opportunities

Nature is not waiting for us, especially if we are holding a camera we should wait for the perfect moment but sometimes that moment can take no more than a fraction of a second. Knowing our object, learning its behavior patterns, the environment it likes to hide in, hunt or other behavior we would like to show are crucial. This is where we should master the patience and knowing our gear as mentioned earlier, for example in a simple “point-and-shoot” camera we should wait for the right moment with the shooting button half way pressed in order to shorten the shooting time. Try to plan ahead of time which marine creature you would like to photograph during the dive and choose the gear for your object, including strobes, filters, macro or wide angle lens.


5. Using a location never ends

Underwater photographers are known as divers who don’t move. Small reef can contain tens and sometimes hundreds of creatures waiting to be photographed. Don’t hesitate to return to the same reef and the same spot time and time again, even in different day and night times. You will find out that you can find different behavior and different creatures when diving in different times, days and seasons. (hunting, cleaning, mating and etc’.

6. composition

Try not to center your object and to give it a background that will make it stand rather than hide it. Try to connect your object to the background or its surrounding – in order for it to “tell-a-story”. Pay attention to your photography angle – low angle will enlarge the object and will make the photo to look more powerful. Make an effort not to photograph your object from behind – in most cases this creates a lack of interest in the photo, take the same photo using different angles and focus points – the results you will explore easily on your computer screen.

7. Use the sun

The sun is a source of light and also an object that adds a lot when shooting with wide angle lens! Even if you don’t have an expensive underwater strobe you can get wonderful results with good filter and using the sun as a light source.

If you have a strobe you can use the sun as a background object and light your main object using the strobe to get very special results!

8. Safety first!

Never abandon your dive buddy – try to dive with a buddy who is also a proud owner of an underwater camera, this will allow both of you to explore together at the same pace without worrying that your buddy is “bored” when you “get stuck” on a reef. It will also allow both of you to compare after the dive your different “point of view” and interests.

Check your depth and pressure gauges often! You should do it more often frequently that usual, at least every 2 or 3 photos.

Don’t damage the environment in order to keep those who come after you what to photograph. Don’t kick the sand and watch out for where you sit and put your fins on.

Don’t touch the marine flora and fauna – you could get injured and cause a damage to the environment.

9. Share your photos!

Even if you think your photos are not very successful, don’t be afraid to share them! Use Facebook groups and other forum and you will get tips and ideas how to improve the photos.