• Mary

Underwater Photography Tips for Beginners

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

For beginners, capturing that perfect moment through underwater photography isn’t always easy.

beautiful underwater photography
underwater legs

If you’re just starting out in underwater photography, don’t give up. You simply need to understand the basic building blocks of this niche of photography. Like any kind of photography, it starts with knowledge of your equipment, and learning technique.

girl wearing goggles and yellow swimsuit in pool, bubbles
little boy having fun in pool

So, you’re heading to the beach. You have an amazing camera. Your underwater housing is ready to go. You can’t wait to jump in the water! Are you ready?

backlit underwater image, glow

Don’t dive in without reading through these tips for underwater photography:

  1. Patience is a virtue. Nothing awesome comes easily. Shooting underwater can be a challenge for many reasons. Keep calm and swim on. Enjoy your environment, and prepare yourself to be patient. Patience always pays off when it comes to underwater photography!

  2. Develop a vision. Like with any art, knowing what you want to capture is important. A creative vision is one of the main differences between “someone with a camera” and an artist! Decide ahead of time what you’d like to capture. Keep in mind where you’ll be shooting. A little bit of planning will help you decide what equipment to bring, your camera settings, and what the final images will look like.

  3. Know your limits. This probably seems like it should go without saying, but water can be dangerous! There are many risks you face when in the water that you don’t face outside of it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know your strengths and weaknesses in any body of water, and to familiarize yourself with the area you’ll be shooting in. If you are shooting in a natural body of water, know the laws about how close you can get to marine life. Do you plan to be shooting underwater somewhere you’ve never been before? Ask someone for advice! Find someone who shoots there frequently or is local. Ask them to help fill you in on anything you need to know about photographing underwater in that area.

  4. Have fun with your lenses. If you want to create amazing variety in your gallery, use a few different lenses. Love the look of the half above water/half below water images? You’re going to want a wide-angle lens with a dome port. A fisheye lens can add a fun and unique quality to underwater photography. Finally, you can’t go wrong with a standard lens. Take along your favorite lens that has good range and you won’t be disappointed.

  5. Take more photos than you normally would. One of the main differences between underwater photography and photography on land is that underwater, everything is constantly in motion! Don’t be scared to shoot a lot!

  6. Set your camera settings before your camera is inside your underwater housing. Plan ahead and get set before you enter the water because depending on your housing you may or may not be able to change your settings. In the event you can’t, you definitely won’t want to be constantly getting out to make changes.

  7. Try to shoot in ideal conditions. There are so many elements that affect underwater shooting conditions. If you want vibrancy, clarity, and beautiful blue water, you need to shoot when there are blue skies and sunshine. Wind can also affect water conditions.

  8. Take your time in post-processing. It’s incredible how we can manipulate images. Don’t be afraid to take your time developing a new post-processing flow for your underwater photography. Don’t forget to print your images!

If you’re not quite ready to dive in with your “big” camera, try one of these, to get your feet wet!

  1. Olympus – Tough TG-6 12.0-Megapixel Water-Resistant Digital Camera

  2. GoPro HERO8

Will you be attempting underwater photography in 2020?

child swimming underwater
floating maternity image, pool maternity photography

See more of my underwater work on my Facebook page, and Instagram account.

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