Any kind of photography requires great understanding and skill. Underwater photography requires practice and preparation for unknown surroundings and obstacles. Here are our top tips for underwater photography if you’re planning an underwater experience such as shark cage diving, or scuba diving.
Practice shooting in the pool first
It may feel weird but it’s best to practice your underwater photography skills in a safe environment before entering an unknown one. You can spend hours in the swimming pool testing camera settings and how to operate it underwater, without the concern of strong currents and dangerous marine life.
Have Enough Light
At all times, sufficient light is required to capture great photos. Be sure to pick the correct time of day such as bright afternoons when the sun shines directly into the water.
If the lighting conditions aren’t on your side, invest in a built-in flash or external light to bring out the colours and eliminate the shadows.
There’s a possibility that there will be illuminating particles appearing between yourself and the subject. Eliminate the particulars by directing your flash towards your lens as much as possible.
Stay at the Surface
Be creative and play with the natural effects of the sea such as the sunbeams, the surface reflections, and backlit textures. An example of a popular creative shot most underwater photographers take is revealing half of the world below the water and the other above the surface.
Getting close to your subject may not always be possible but when the opportunity arises be sure to grab it! Another reason to get up close is to acquire more detail of your subject instead of using a teleport lens and shooting from far. Of course, there will be times that the subject may be intimidating, trust your instinct when a situation doesn’t feel right. Safety first!
Understand Marine Life
Part of successfully capturing your subject in all its essence is to understand it. You need to know its behaviour. With this mindset, you’ll be able to capture your subject naturally.
Know your basics
It’s essential that you know the basic camera settings, as it determines the outcome of your photos. Here are some of the basics explained:
- White balance: In most cases, particularly when you’re shooting underwater, it is best to put your white balance to daylight settings.
- ISO: Even though it’s dark underwater, it’s best to keep your ISO low as higher ISOs will create “digital noise” in your photos.
- Aperture: Your aperture should be between f8 to f16, which will provide a great depth of field, particularly when you’re underwater.
- Focus: Due to the nature of underwater photography and that your subject is most likely to be moving continuously, it’s preferred that the focus setting is on automatic. An automatic focus ensures that you’ll have a clear shot of your subject even when it’s moving.
- Shutter speed: The correct shutter speed setting depends on the settings of your camera such as your ISO, aperture, and focus. With your camera set to manual, you can adjust your shutter speed according to preference. Playing around with your shutter speed is a great way to be creative.
An adventure to the underwater world is incomplete if you haven’t taken creative and beautiful photos to show. Our tips listed above should help you with everything you need to know for you to capture the amazing moments you experienced during shark cage diving and scuba diving. Who knows, you might fall in love with the art and become a pro!