5 tips for starting out in underwater photography

September 25, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Lemon SharkLemon SharkA lemon shark beautifully accented by 2 juvenile trevallies at Beqa Lagoon Fiji

  1. Safety safety safety! Only enter the ocean to shoot if you’re a competent swimmer and never do it alone! It’s easy to get distracted taking your shot and not realise you’re drifting off shore and into danger. If you’re shooting around rock pools check the swell and waves, don’t get caught out and washed into the ocean, it happens to rock fisherman around here all the time. Always take someone with you and let someone else know where you are going and for how long.

 

  1. Keep warm by investing in a good wetsuit and boots, they will also protect you from the sun and any bumps and scratches you might get from sharp rocks etc. Even in tropical climates you can still get a chill and cramps if you’re in the ocean for a few hours. A warm photographer is a happy photographer!!

 

  1. Make sure your equipment is well protected. Buy the best water housing you can afford if you’re going to get serious. You don’t necessarily have to buy a brand new one either, there are some good underwater photography websites that have classified forums on them and you can often pick up a second hand bargain. It’s tempting to buy a cheap ‘plastic bag’ type waterproof coat but remember it the only thing between your beloved camera and the harsh elements!

 

  1. Lighting is important underwater, it’s a lot darker and less contrasty than in air so you’ll want to invest in some form of underwater flash if you’re shooting any more than a few feet deep. Anything red will appear a dirty brown/grey when submerged more than a foot or two down without the aid of artificial light, as you go deeper oranges and yellows go too until everything looks blue when no flash is used.

 

  1. Invest in good quality lenses over a bells and whistles camera body. Start with a good wide angle zoom, something in the 10-24mm range, then add to that a fisheye and a mid range macro lens. There is no use for a telephoto underwater as you’ll always want to be as close to your subject as possible.

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