Underwater Photography Tips for scuba divers
In this article, I want to share some general underwater photography tips with you that will help you become a better underwater photographer.
Underwater safety always comes first. It is easy to get carried away when you have a camera with you, but please keep an eye on your air supply, your depth, and dive time.
Stay within your limits. Also, make sure you don’t lose your dive buddy (I know that can be especially difficult when you are a photographer!).
Don’t touch anything underwater
Remember that we don’t want to be touching anything underwater except yourself and your camera 😉 It is not okay to touch any marine critters or coral, as this would cause them a lot of stress and might even harm them.
Please also pay attention to your fins, “touching” does not only mean touching with your hands but your whole body.
Mind your surroundings when photographing
Good buoyancy skills are essential for us divers, but especially so when you are photographing underwater. If you do not feel comfortable with your buoyancy yet, keep practicing before you bring a camera to your dive.
I am not a fan of lying down underwater, even if it is “just sand”. There are tons of tiny little critters living in the sand that could get harmed if you just sit or lie down on the bottom.
Instead, I encourage you to always photograph while neutrally buoyant. Breathe slowly and steadily to minimize your movement.
Never chase an animal underwater
I know it can be tempting to chase the manta ray that just swam by you. But all you are going to achieve by chasing an animal underwater is that it will feel stressed and get away from you even faster.
If you let the animal come to you instead, you will also notice in your images that the animal is much more relaxed, resulting in better pictures.
Keep an open mind
The ocean is not a zoo. Sometimes your dreams come true and you get to see the whale shark you have been wanting to see for years, and sometimes it’s just not the right time and place.
Keep an open mind and don’t get upset if you can’t find the critter you want to photograph. There will always be another dive!
Anyhow, you don’t need a special critter to create amazing pictures. Often common subjects can result in better subjects than special ones.
It’s okay to say no!
If you find a subject, but it is either in a very bad position or you just can not approach it close enough without causing any damage to the reef or marine life, it is better to pass on than to force it.
It’s better to not take a photograph of a subject and just enjoy the moment than to take it and break off a piece of coral.
Underwater photography takes time to master.
Try to get as much practice as you can, and don’t give up!
If you ever feel like you need additional support, reach out to me.
If you haven’t already done so, join my free underwater photography training, where I’m sharing lots of tips on how you can create better pictures on your next dives.
If you want to dive in even deeper, enroll in my online course “The Secrets of Underwater Photography”, where you will learn everything you need to know to start creating outstanding underwater images.
Strive for the best “out-of-camera” results
While nowadays we have a lot of flexibility when it comes to post-processing our images, I like to adopt a mindset where I am striving for the best images straight out of the camera.
This does not mean, that I do not post-process my images at all. But it allows me to push myself to get the best results on the dive, without relying too much on the editing software.
Experiment with your underwater photography
Keep in mind that all photography rules are always suggestions. Don’t be shy to break the rules and experiment.
You might try something completely new and through being open to experimenting, find your own style.
Do it your way
There is no right or wrong– it is all about having fun, getting creative, and finding out what makes you happy.
Not everyone might like your pictures or agree with you- and that is okay! Don’t be afraid to do it your way.