Fishing For A Great Photo: Underwater Photography

If you’re an adventurer who enjoys action, adores photography and likes fish (not eating them, looking at them), why not try underwater photography?

Great idea, so let’s get into the water, right? Um, not so soon.

Hone Your Diving Skills

First, you’d better make sure your diving skills are up to speed. When you’re down there with your camera, focusing on a beautiful starfish, huge school of angel fish or a horrendous shark, you don’t want to crash into a rock. Diving needs to be a second nature before you go on your underwater photography expedition.

Keep Still

If you get too close, move around a lot and play with your equipment, the fish won’t be sitting there waiting in a convenient pose. It’ll whisk away faster than you can imagine, and in case you were thinking of swimming after it, that won’t work either. You’ll be left alone in the blue. Instead, quietly lock in on your subject, wait patiently and be still, until the fish you’re aiming for is facing you.

Deal with Low Light

When you’re down there in the depths, the light will be dim. Water plays down color, contrast and sharpness. What to do? First, practice makes perfect. One way to practice the low light conditions is taking photos of objects inside a room with low lighting. Also, once you’re underwater, to get a vivid, colorful, focused shot, make sure you’re positioned within 12 inches of fish, coral or object you’re photographing. Lastly, flash is a necessity. Don’t forget to turn it on.

Go Lowwww

Generally, you’ll be diving over a reef, with the fish swimming below. The easiest thing would be to snap some photos from above and call it a day. However, if you want to get really good footage, you need to be at the level of the fish, or below the fish.

Eye the Fish

Eyes are the windows of the soul, even for a fish. When you talk to a person, you look them in the eye. The same goes for wildlife photography– if you want to capture your audience, you need to capture the eye of your subject. If you keep your focus on the fish’s eye and format the rest of your composition accordingly, you’re more likely to get a world-class underwater photo.

 Looking Right at the Sun

Ever wanted to look right at the sun? This is your chance. On dry land, looking directly at the sun, with or without a camera, is non-productive at best, and hazardous at worst. Underwater, however, you can shoot right into the sun, and play with the effect.