5 Tips On How You Can Be a Better Underwater Photographer

In this Underwater Photography Guide, we give tips and tricks on becoming a better Underwater Photographer.

People with SCUBA training are uniquely positioned to offer the world a glimpse of their experiences through underwater photography. While some people seem born to produce exquisite images of life under the sea, the skill required to take quality underwater photographs can be learned.

With practice, you can learn techniques to produce beautiful underwater pictures of marine life that will be keepers. This Underwater Photography Guide gives a few tips to achieve balanced, crisp underwater photographs every time.

Underwater photography can be learned

Subject and Composition

This is part of the foundation for underwater photography and a significant determining factor in how your photo turns out. If you are in a busy coral reef system, try to fixate on isolated parts of the reef. Instead of trying to capture the entire thing, you will end up with much clearer subjects.

Shoot up towards your subject rather than down at it. Avoid centering every subject, and shoot from several angles. Try using the rule of thirds. This technique teaches you to mentally separate the image you want into nine equal squares. Place critical points of the subject along the lines or their intersections to achieve a well-blended, balanced photograph that creates tension and interest.

In post-production, cropping can make a difference when the desired composition is not achieved when the image is shot.

Capturing True Colors

One of the most common complaints about pictures taken underwater by divers is the resulting monochrome effect in shades of either blue or green. The most immediate fix for this is to use a strobe with your camera. Water absorbs red, orange, and yellow faster than blue and green. This results in the blue-green hue of underwater pictures.

A strobe effectively brings your subject’s natural colors forward with artificial light. It would be best if you did not use a strobe when your subject is further than 3 – 4 feet away from your lens.

Many underwater pics do not show the true colors

Photo Credit: abbyladybug

If you wish to practice photography skills with ambient light, staying within 10 – 20 feet of the surface is best. As the deeper you go, the more color will be absorbed. Learning how to operate your camera’s white balance would be best. White balance tells your camera what temperature of light to balance for. With the blue sky being the highest temperature and candlelight being the lowest.

Camera settings for underwater photography

Some cameras have both auto and manual settings for white balance. Adjusting your white balance manually while photographing will yield better results than color correction afterward. Of course, using a photo-editing program for shots that turn out less than perfect can result in a beautiful image.

Getting Strong Clarity

Shy violets do not take great shots. The more distance there is between you and your subject underwater, the less definition and contrast will end up in your underwater photography. Because water is much denser than the air we live in, distance creates distortion. Get up close and personal with your subject.

Underwater photography is an art.

Photo Credit: Marco Leone [Deepboy]

Using a wide-angle lens and composing your subject no more than 12 inches away can deliver a clear, crisp image. A long zoom lens is not as practical for underwater photography as on land.

Being comfortable with your dive skills profoundly impacts your underwater photography concerning buoyancy control and managing currents. Having firsthand knowledge of your camera and composition skills is a must. You can practice shooting with your camera in its underwater housing on land to increase your comfort with the camera when underwater.

Would you like to practice your underwater photography skills? Why not book a dive trip to Indonesia or Egypt, where you can be sure you will find photogenic reefs and great wrecks that are picture perfect

Feel free to check out our Scuba Dive partners on the map below for packages, training, or guided trips:

The Scuba Page, the online magazine for Scuba Dive lovers worldwide, publishes this article. The Scuba Page is part of RUSHKULT: the online booking platform for adventure sports. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip, and accommodation.

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