Tips on Capturing the Best Underwater Pictures


pictures underwater

Enjoy these 100 underwater photography tips, including basic tips, tips for compact camera photographers, and advanced underwater photo tips.

Basic Underwater Photography Tips

Underwater Pictures

These are the “traditional” underwater photography tips everyone should know

#1 – Get close to your subject – preferably within 12 inches. Water reduces color, contrast, and sharpness.

Underwater Pictures

#2 – Make sure your camera flash is turned on, preferable in “forced flash mode.”

#3 – For best composition – get low, shoot at an upwards angle, don’t center the subject, try to fill your frame with the subject. Don’t shoot “down” at the subject.

#4 – Make sure the subject’s eyes are in focus.

#5 – Get your diving skills down before you start using a camera underwater.

#6 – Practice topside with your camera inside the housing. Try taking close-ups of flowers and household objects.

#7 – To minimize backscatter, buy an external strobe/flash and position it away from your underwater camera housing.

#8 – Set your camera to the highest resolution, and the lowest ISO possible to begin with.

#9 – Use auto white-balance when using a flash/strobe, and custom white balance or underwater mode when not using a flash.

#10 – Learn how to use manual mode or aperture priority mode if your camera offers it, so you control the balance between the natural light and the light from your flash.

#11 – If you are shooting with natural light, shoot in 20ft of water or less, with the sun behind you.

#12 – For quickest focus, use spot focus mode. Learn how to focus on an area without taking a photo (pressing the shutter button halfway) and recomposing.

#13 – If your underwater photos don’t look sharp, check to see which shutter speed was used, it should needs to be 1/30th for still objects, 1/60th for slow moving objects, and 1/125th of faster for faster moving fish.

#14 – Most underwater photos can use an increase in contrast when post-processing your photos – but don’t overdo it.

Underwater Photography Tips for Underwater Compact Camera Users

#1  Make sure you read the Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Photography

#2 – Cover the front of the housing directly in front of the internal flash with duct tape when adding an external strobe that is optically fired, otherwise you will still get backscatter from the internal flash.

#3 – Make sure you understand the focusing distance of your camera in and out of macro mode. Use macro mode when you are within the macro focusing distance.

#4 – If you use an external flash, make sure you place it as far away from your housing as possible, and your internal flash is blocked, in order to reduce backscatter.

#5 – Bring a dive light with you to help your camera auto-focus.

#6 – If you turn your flash off, either manual white-balance your camera, or set it to underwater mode

#7 – Don’t use digital zoom.

These are some tips to keep in mind.

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