Scuba Diving – How to Get Started In Underwater Photography

While you are scuba diving, you are no doubt amazed by the beauty and grace of the underwater world and wish to share it with your family and friends who you have not been able to convince to go with you as of yet. Or maybe you just want to capture photos of your experiences so that you can keep them for your own enjoyment. No matter the reason, most people have a great desire to begin learning underwater photography fairly early on in their scuba diving career.

If this sounds like you, you have likely already begun browsing your local scuba dive shops for equipment and started reading up on articles and information published by underwater photography professionals. While you can find a lot of information in this way, a lot of it is technical and hard to follow. For this reason, the best way to learn how to take pictures underwater is to start taking them and then learn through trial and error.

Your first underwater camera will likely be a disposable water-proof camera that works great for taking pictures in shallow depths. This will get you used to taking pictures underwater but is not ideal for taking photos in deep water. The next step up from this camera is the amphibious camera. This camera is small, lightweight, and ideal for beginning underwater photography in deeper waters. You can also take a normal land camera, house it, and outfit it for use in underwater photography. While this is the most expensive option, this is the equipment that produces the vivid, breathtaking photos featured in magazines. Whatever equipment you choose, two things that you cannot take underwater photos without are an external flashgun and interchangeable lenses.

Once you have your equipment, the best way to begin is to start taking pictures. Be sure to stock up on lots of film and take several shots of each subject. This way you can compare shots and learn from your own underwater photography mistakes. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Get close to your subject. One reason why underwater photography is so challenging is that matter is suspended in the water between you and your subject. The flash reflects off of this material resulting in blurry, obstructed pictures.

Start photographing small objects first. This will allow you to preset your equipment before you dive. Use a flashgun to provide white light as monochromatic blue light is the only light that penetrates deeper water. Artificial white light is vital in underwater photography for producing sharp, colorful images.

Position your flashgun correctly. Your flashgun should be positioned a good distance from the lens axis to avoid reflection of light off of suspended matter otherwise called back scatter.

After you get a feel for underwater photography, you will find that you can easily learn as you go. Take lots of film as this is the cheapest component of underwater photography. Compare shots, learn from your mistakes, and you will soon be wowing your friends and family with more than stories. You’ll have the photos to back them up.