Have you ever wanted to take your camera snorkeling? Wanted to capture images when you’re scuba diving? Are you wondering how pros take those dramatic images in diving magazines? Underwater photography has never been more accessible than it is today thanks to underwater digital cameras. We have some basic tips of what you should and shouldn’t do if you’re looking to learn how to shoot underwater.
What you SHOULD do
1- Get your diving skills down before you start using your Nikon COOLPIX W300 Waterproof Digital Camera from Beachcamera.com that’s waterproof to 100 feet underwater.
2- Get close to your subject because water reduces color, contrast, and sharpness. Within 12 inches is preferable.
3- Make sure your camera flash is set on forced flash mode.
4- Set your camera to the highest resolution, and the lowest ISO to begin with.
5- For quickest focus, use spot focus mode.
6- To minimize backscatter, buy an external strobe/flash and position it away from your underwater camera housing.
7- Shoot at an upwards angle. Trying to fill your frame with the subject.
8- Use auto white-balance when using a flash/strobe. When not using a flash, use custom white balance or underwater mode.
9- Learn how to use manual mode or aperture priority mode if your camera offers it. This way you control the balance between the natural light and the light from your flash.
10- If you’re shooting with natural light, use your Garmin VIRB 360 Waterproof Action Camera from Beachcamera.com to shoot in 20ft of water or less, with the sun behind you.
11- Make sure the subject’s eyes are in focus.
12– For sharp images, your shutter speed should be 1/30th for still objects. For slow moving objects keep it at 1/60th, and 1/125th or faster for faster moving fish.
What you SHOULDN’T do
1- Take photos with a lack of contrast. You should shoot in clear water, get closer, and use strobes to light the subject.
2- Take photos that lack color. The solution is to shoot with strobes! Also, block out ambient light with a fast shutter speed.
3- Take a photo that is cluttered without a clear subject. Try to fill the frame.
4- Take photos that lack sharpness.
5- Shoot only in landscape mode. Shoot vertically 50% of the time.
6- Shoot a subject more than 2-3ft away. This is also called shooting through too much water.
7- Have a distracting background.
8- Think you can use a long zoom lens like 18-200mm zoom underwater.
9- Try to shoot a busy reef in one photo. Try to isolate subjects on the reef instead.
10- Accidentally shoot at ISO 1600 or at small jpeg quality the entire dive.
11 – Oversaturate your photos. Try increasing the saturation only 5-10% at most.
This is just the start of your journey beneath the surface into underwater photography. The key to success is practice. Have fun and enjoy taking your camera to a place that most people never would dream of taking theirs. Happy diving!