Underwater photography: Things you must consider
For a large number of divers the next step in the adventurous sport of SCUBA diving is exploring the world of underwater photography.While photography on land does pose many challenges, everyone has a semi-professional friend they can turn to for advice. Underwater though,the challenges are dramatically different.
Tripods no longer allow for slow shutter speed, light fades with distance, particles often fill the lens and aperture changes turn day to night. Underwater photography can be perplexing but with certain skills one can master this art too.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind!
First and foremost: be a great diver! Before even considering underwater photography, you need to learn how to dive. The better you are at diving the better you will be at taking pictures underwater. The best underwater photographers not only have an excellent creative eye but are exceptionally competent divers too.
Perfecting your buoyancy control: You have to develop your buoyancy control if you want to be an underwater photographer. If you can’t control your buoyancy, you can’t take good pictures. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in enough dive time to control your body underwater.
Know your equipment: Jumping into the water with your precious DSLR to take pictures can end badly. You need to use an underwater housing for your camera. As well as the housing for the camera, you also need a different port for each lens.
Protecting your camera is just the first step. Underwater housing can’t overcome the light limitations of shooting underwater. There are two main solutions for this- off-camera lighting and filters.
Off-camera lighting is best as it helps with both color and contrast problems. The other option, filters, works betterfor videography than photography.
Get close to your subject: Remember the rule- the less water between the photographer and the subject—and the light source and the subject—the better the resulting pictures. Light quality decreases with the distance so the further you are from your subjects, the worse your shots will be.
If you are close to your subject—and you should be—you need consider using either a macro lens or a wide-angle lens for detail or wide shots respectively. Most other lenses won’t be able to capture enough of the scene for a powerful image.
Be a considerate diver: You may be a competent diver with great photography skills, but you should learn to understand the behavior of the subject and respect the wildlife. You have to be a considerate diver as you don’t want to get a reputation for bumping into and damaging the coral, provoking marine life and barging your buddies out of the way to get that perfect picture.
Always remember that the environment is more important than any shot and don’t be that photographer who ruins the reef and other divers’ enjoyment of the ocean.
Once you take all these things into consideration, you can go all out with your creativity! Try to find your style, something that will make your work stand out in the crowd.