Share Your Adventures. Are you primed to step up to advanced DSLR levels? Transitioning to high-definition video? Or maybe you’re just ready to try a housing for the point-and-shoot you already love — options abound in this roster of feature-rich still and video cameras and imaging accessories to outfit your own underwater studio.
What You Need To Know: Underwater Photography
Follow these tips from Sport Diver Images columnists Jason Heller and Matt Weiss to get the most out of your camera and improve your shots:
1. Get close, and then get closer. Less water between you and your subject means clearer, sharper, more colorful images and less backscatter.
2. Shoot upward. This more-appealing angle can help you get a little clear water and sunshine in the shot too.
3. Focus on the eyes. Animals tend to be on the move; keeping the eyes sharp will make your image pop.
4. Patience, grasshopper. That wait for your subject to assume the perfect position or for other divers to go by will be worth it. Tell other divers on the boat you’re working with a model so they can avoid getting in your shots.
5. Use a strobe (or two). Water sucks the color out of images; strobes will restore it.
6. Shoot, review, adjust, repeat. That LCD screen on the back of your camera is there for a reason; use it. If you don’t like what you see, adjust and shoot again. And again.
7. Go manual. Don’t worry; it’s not that scary! Once you are comfortable in auto mode, start to play around with manual controls; you might be surprised by how fun that can be.
8. Water and electronics don’t mix. It’s no exaggeration: A single strand of hair or speck of dirt can be the difference between success and a flooded housing. Never let salt water dry on your equipment.
9. Respect the environment. Practice perfect buoyancy; keep your gear from dangling; and be nice to the
underwater neighbors — it’s their ’hood, not ours.
10. Have fun!
The Human Element
Adding Divers Adds Interest To Your Images
1. Don’t count on the Jedi mind trick: Recruit a model and discuss your needs — and the hand signals you will use — before you hit the water.
2. Long, tall silhouettes generally look better than short, compact ones.
3. Decide beforehand whether you are lighting the reef or lighting the model.