Hi and welcome back to my latest underwater photography blog for Sairee Cottage Diving. This time I will be talking about what kind of extra camera equipment we can attach to the front of our strobes. When using a strobe, even on low settings, the light can be too harsh and therefore over expose the main subject and add backscatter (lit up particles in the water). By adding something called a diffuser we can soften the light causing a lower contrast between highly exposed areas and areas of dark shadows as well as widening the beam of light. You can also get different types of diffusers that will cause a different temperature to the picture. Warmer diffusers will give you a deeper richer blue in the background water. This is because either the cameras auto white balance, or a white balance in post-production, cools the images foreground but affects the entire image. A cooler diffuser can leave a greenish hint, which is more desirable in green water. You can also get dome diffusers that help spread the light out more evenly and minimize backscatter. Dome diffusers can make a great difference especially when lighting a wide-angle subject.
The most frustrating but fun challenge I have had is using my new Snoot. Strobes spread the light out as wide as possible to evenly light up the area we want to shoot. A snoot on the other hand will concentrate the light into as small a light as you want so you can highlight a precise point with in the image or even completely black out everything else around your macro subject. When lighting with a snoot you need the right conditions because not only are you lining up the camera with something small, you also need the snoot at the correct angle or the thin beam of light will miss the subject so even the slightest water movement can ruin a days snoot shooting. Normal strobes are normally held in places by a series of arms and clamps but this makes it far harder with a snoot. The best technique for using a snoot is to have the snoot/strobe free in your left hand rather than held with a rigid arm (or vice versa). This way you can focus the camera in your right hand then line up the beam of the snoot with your left before taking the photo. Another option is to have someone else have the snoot attached to a separate light source and get really creative with the lighting such as side or back lighting to make it more dramatic. If it’s a single strobe with a snoot or two strobes and dome diffusers I think strobes always make underwater photography more fun and allow for a lot of creativity.
If you would like to learn underwater photography contact us at Sairee Cottage Diving