Underwater Photography Tips

Take Great Scuba Pics

There’s nothing more exciting about diving than bringing your experiences back to the surface via underwater photography. Whether you share your images with your family and friends, on the internet, or by way of prints for your home or office, underwater photography lets you share the thrill and adventure of every dive. While capturing photos underwater has been more expensive and difficult in the past, divers today have many affordable and easy to use solutions, thanks to digital photography. So what does it take to get good shots underwater? Let’s have a look…

  • Before attempting to take pictures underwater, scuba divers must perfect their buoyancy skills. Mastering the ability to float neutrally in the water is essential to achieving good results. Be sure you have the correct weight and the proper BCD in order to achieve control of your buoyancy with the camera system you have.
  • Know the animals and the environment you are going to photograph. It helps to participate in an AWARE Fish Identification or Underwater Naturalist Speciality course to learn how to find and understand the critters you are going to see.
  • The deeper you go while scuba diving, the less light available for underwater photography. Along with the scuba gear required for these dives, plan to bring an external flash for your camera equipment to add back the light lost with depth. A PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course can show you how to effectively choose and use an underwater flash.
  • As with any new scuba gear that you purchase, you should try out new scuba photography equipment in a pool prior to diving, whenever possible. You will also want to take new camera housings underwater without the camera to ensure they are functioning properly. You don’t want to find problems with the housing while your camera is in it!
  • While out on the dive boat be sure to keep camera gear out of the sun and away from heavy dive gear like scuba tanks and weight belts.
  • When shooting pictures underwater, follow two important rules. Get close to your subject and shoot at upward angles. This will allow you to fill the frame and get separation of your subject from the background.
  • Focus on a particular type of underwater photography, such as close-up or scenic and perfect your skills before moving on to the next type of shot. Avoid the shotgun approach of trying to capture everything that you see.
  • When traveling with underwater photography gear, be sure to pack carefully to protect your gear. Be aware of current air travel restrictions and pack accordingly.
  • Be sure to visit your local Dive shop before your next photo dive to get essential photo items like lanyards to secure your camera, o-ring grease, memory cards and batteries.
  • Most of all, remember what you learned in your scuba diving class. You are a diver first and then a photographer. Your safety and that of divers around you depends on keeping this in mind at all times