Instead of being a mere underwater observer, do you want to become a hunter? (No, not the kind that shoots to kill).
Wouldn’t it be awesome to capture some of those amazing sites you see while diving so you can share with others, as well as meander down a memory lane of your most memorable dives? And yes, you could now prove to your obnoxious brother-in-law that you really did see a <insert amazing critter>.
Before we get into underwater photography equipment details, we’re going to talk about some basics.
Buoyancy control is crucial to successful underwater photography because without it, you may crash into fragile coral, as well as scare away your subjects.
You also need to be able to shoot looking up, therefore you might need to swim “upside down” without losing track of how close you are to the bottom.
Your dive buddy: First, if you’re focused on getting great shots, you’re not going to be a very attentive dive buddy. Depending on your dive buddy’s experience and comfort, this could become a problem. You may be so distracted, you miss the fact that you’re running low on air — or that your buddy is in trouble. Either scenario puts you both into a risky situation.
Second, you may linger in one area for several minutes trying to get that perfect shot, while your dive buddy gets bored and wants to move on. You may end up separated. While this doesn’t mean you need a new dive buddy, you just need to discuss concerns ahead of time.
Before you go buy a camera, it’s a good idea to learn some of the terminology and basic features.
First, you have to consider if you just want to take some great underwater stills and video without investing a lot of money and time into learning how to use complicated equipment. Point & shoot cameras may be your best bet since they are less expensive, simpler, smaller and lighter weight. Look for a package that includes housing, such as this Nikon Coolpix L30 or this waterproof Sealife DCI1400 that requires no separate housing.
If you’re interested in video but don’t have the time or budget for a full feature video camera, check out this GoPro HERO4, available here as a package that includes lights, mounts, arms and filters.
If you have the budget and the time, you may want to consider a DSLR camera. They offer interchangeable lenses, better sensors, more accessories and generally take higher quality photos and videos. The tradeoffs are higher cost, more complex to use, bulkier and heavier.
The best and fastest way to get underwater photography basics down is by taking a course. Sometimes these are offered as a stand-alone seminar or as part of earning an Advanced Open Water certification.
If you live in the Dallas area, Scuba Toys offers underwater photography instruction. Call us at 972-820-7667 or visit us online. We also carry a large line of underwater photography equipment and can help you find the right camera setup for you.
Do you take underwater photos and videos? Let us know your underwater photography tips in the comments section below!
Whale shark: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cs-jay/