Top 5 Underwater Photography Principles for Newbies

By: Ana Margarita Olar|

Are you planning to take your photography skills to a whole new level? Here are some tips about underwater photography for newbie:

Learn diving skills first.

Because you will be engaging in underwater photography you have to master your water skills first, for your own safety, and for the safety of your subject. Practicing your water skills and trying to take a photo will be quite a challenge.

You can damage the reef while you are taking your shot, or you can harm yourself with an unfamiliar sea creature or when you lose track of time and end with an empty oxygen tank. You also need to secure proper equipment both for diving and for taking pictures underwater.

Know when to get close or not.

Basically, there are two types of underwater shots you must concentrate on:

Close up shots- get close but not too close and approach the subject smoothly, avoid making unnecessary movements. You might want to familiarize yourself with safe or unsafe marine life before hand. Try close-up shots in macro mode, forced flash, spot focus, auto white balance aperture priority mode, or program mode.

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Scenic shots– several feet away from the subject- turn off macro mode and flash, custom white balance, AV mode, or program mode.

Separate your subject from the background.

Sea creatures often possess the ability to camouflage, where they blend their colors with the environment. One way to make them stand out against the background is shooting up at an upward angle. Shooting upward also enhances your perspective that will include not just the ocean floor.

But in the case of creatures with bright colors against sandy ocean floor, then you can try shooting downwards. Remember, separation is the name of the game.

Experiment with the camera settings indoors.

Don’t wait to go underwater before setting up your camera and trying it on. Take some practice shots indoors. Test the camera settings. Basically, everything works the same although focusing indoors will be a lot easier. Remember, you only have limited time to underwater photography and must not be wasted by setting up your camera.

Underwater photography requires more patience.

Aside from an ample supply of oxygen, you have a lot of patience while being underwater. Don’t get easily frustrated. Prepare to shoot a lot, and experiment quickly with settings.

Underwater photography is a daring task. You need to plan ahead, check your safety equipment, and your camera as well. And while you are aiming for a perfect underwater shot, keep in mind that it should not be at the expense of you and your team’s safety.