With our Underwater Wonderland Contest in full swing, it seems like a good time to review some basic underwater photography tips. Because it’s not too late to get out there and take a winning photo!
1. Proximity is important – Get up close and personal with your subject. Of course, if your subject is a dangerous predator, you may want to reconsider your desire to take that photo (or you may want to settle for shooting from afar).
2. Flash is necessary – Your GoPro camera is designed to work under and above water, and you can change the settings based on your environment. However, when you’re shooting under water, you almost always want to keep the cam on “forced flash mode.” It gets dark down there.
3. Go Low – For the best images, try to get beneath the subject and shoot upwards. There are some exceptions, of course, but these images are typically more visually interesting than ones that have been taken from above or straight on.
4. External Strobes Help – There’s one thing you’ll notice about amateur underwater photos. Many of them have a lot of backscatter. An external strobe can help minimize this and get your photos looking professional.
5. Take Hi-Res Photos – In preparation for your dive, set your camera on its highest resolute and lowest ISO.
6. Using Natural Light – Although flash is often recommended, there are some cases where you will have enough natural light shining in that you won’t need it. To take a stellar natural light photo, stay in shallow water (20ft or less) and keep the sun at your back.
7. Adjusting Shutter Speed – Do your underwater photos always seem to come out blurry? Check your shutter speed. If you’re shooting stills, it should be 1/30th. For slow-moving objects, keep it at 1/60th, and for speedy creatures, use 1/125th.
8. Focus, focus, focus – If you don’t want to fuss with the camera’s focus, use spot focus mode to auto-adjust on your target.
9. Post-Processing – Let the beauty of your underwater photographs shine through. Don’t overdo it with filtering or other effects. You may find that your photos need a slight contrast boost, but make adjustments sparingly.
10. Use common sense – Resist the urge to take a camera on your first dive ever. You’ll have plenty else to focus on; no need to add underwater photography to the list just yet. Once you’re comfortable breathing under water, you can start shooting.
Now that you’re ready to take the underwater photograph of your life –and win our Underwater Wonderland Contest– grab your scuba gear and get out there and shoot!