Learn How to Take Great Underwater Pictures
One of the most enjoyable ways of scuba diving is to dive with an underwater camera! Any time I have a free afternoon I pop out to the sea for some exciting dives with my camera. Since I’m constantly working on my techniques, and I’m gathering new experience with every dive I do, I’ve come up with a few tips for people who are trying to improve their underwater photography skills.
1. Have Good Buoyancy[singlepic id=163 w=320 h=240 float=left]One of the most important things to master before you take your camera underwater is your buoyancy, if your buoyancy is off, it will show in your pictures! Poor buoyancy means you may stir up sand reducing visibility and creating scatter in your photo. During the underwater photography specialty we spend the first part of the dive simply working on your buoyancy and improving your skills in how to move underwater without stirring up sediment and sand.
2. Photographing People Underwater[singlepic id=161 w=320 h=240 float=left]Taking pictures of people as the main subject underwater can be tricky. You don’t necessarily want the diver to be the main element of the photo. A photo of a diver swimming over a coral reef with the foreground in focus and the diver slightly out of focus can work out very well. Remember you are underwater so you want some underwater life in the photo and not just a close-up of your buddy in underwater equipment. Also, bubbles can sometimes ruin an underwater photo, they cause a distraction and make the photo look sloppy. Time your photos. If you are planing in taking a close-up or portrait of your buddy, give them a previously in a briefing discussed countdown, so they know to inhale for when the photo will be taken and avoid the bubbles.
3. Work on Composition[singlepic id=162 w=320 h=240 float=left]Don’t forget about the composition of the photo! The composition of an underwater photo just as important as when taking photos on land. A common mistake, the people make, is to shoot with the camera facing downwards. We don’t take photos like this on land, because they don’t look good, so we shouldn’t do it underwater either. Shoot your underwater pictures with a slight upwards angle, to allow more light to enter the lens, giving you better contrast and colors. Try not to have the subject centered in the picture, rather have it fill the frame.
4. Work on Angles[singlepic id=164 w=320 h=240 float=left]I find when I do a photography dive on the Advanced course we don’t need to cover a large amount of ground on the dive. Find a simple subject such as Christmas tree worms and try out your different angles until you find the perfect angle and light and colors. Take your time and shoot a few more pictures, you can always sort them out later. Remember to use the line of the sand in the background for a horizon.
Most importantly though; go out and have fun! Take lots and lots of UW photos and review them afterwards on the surface. I am sure you will learn from each and every dive you do with your camera. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for our latest underwater shots and see what you’re still missing out on!