Underwater Photography for Beginners

underwater photography

If you are thinking about taking photographs underwater then you’ll need to know some of the basics of what will be some stunning images that you would have been the architect of. First you will need to find some good diving sites that will be colorful, bright and friendly for photography. Marine life or ship wrecks all make for some good photos so you should look for popular dive centers around the world where many scuba divers frequent.

There are many great dive centers in the Philippines, Sinai Peninsula, off the coast of Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Here an array of colors and amazing marine life will make for a fantastic photo. You should know that water absorbs bright colors such as yellow, orange and red so a flash or a strobe is essential to prevent your images having that blue effect. The deeper down in the ocean you go, the more the water will absorb these colors. A professional underwater photographer will use a strobe or flash even if they are in shallow waters with bright sunlight in order to get the clearest representation of an underwater image.

A strobe or flash can be built in to the camera and it would be much easier for you to take a great image if you don’t have the cumbersome attachment of a flash stuck on your camera when performing underwater photography. Most cameras that are taken underwater will require a casing known as underwater housing. These can cost anywhere from 80 to several thousand dollars depending on the quality and make. Underwater housings are often camera-specific, so you will need to purchase the one built for your exact camera, otherwise you may not be able to control the camera underwater.

Your underwater camera will also need to use an O-ring which is made of rubber and is used to seal the housing and the strobe or flash gun from water penetration. If you are taking underwater images of small fish or mollusks, such as you would in a reef, you will need a macro lens which will allow you to get up close to your object without disturbing it too much.

If you are taking pictures of a wreck during your underwater photography expedition you would often use a wide angle lens. But remember when taking close up images of an object you should always make sure your strobe or flash is in operation. This allows the object to have better coloring even if the ambient (or natural) light is sufficient.

Underwater photography really comes down to knowing your environment. Once you have the right equipment, keeping in mind the conditions in which you are shooting is key. As stated above light operates differently in water than in air, so using a flash to compensate for color loss is important. But you should also be comfortable in the water yourself. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the currents, tides, and other conditions so that you can position yourself in an ideal spot for you to take a photo. Although it is not easy, underwater photography is the best way to bring a mostly unknown world to the surface.


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