underwater photography

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Shubham Deva

5 Jan,2016

Underwater photography is the work of sheer genius and fascinating imagination. With a whole new world to explore, underwater photos in exotic ocean floor can be much tougher to click when compared to the ground level canvassing. From reefs to shallow depths, we tell you some of the most special techniques that can help you bring out the magic of the underwater paradise.

Learn to Swim with the Apparatus

Going underwater, but you are not a water baby? Water and photography are both talents hard to master. If you are bad in one and worse in other, chances are that you are going to pay it with your loss of camera, or bad even with your life. Practise the way you are going to carry the apparatus underwater. Handling the underwater flash when you are staring the shark right in front requires pristine temperament and confidence.

Handle the Blue Tinge

Handle the Blue Tinge

Underwater photography is marred badly by the blue tinge scarring the central line with its presence. Manage the blue crisis by balancing with the white composition. Shoot your subject from a distance of 7.5 feet to get that perfect off-centre focus. Any deviation from the white balance can lead to blue scattering in your photos.

Experiment with Contrasting Colours

Experiment with Contrasting Colours

Shooting in clear water can be tough challenge, especially when you have maximum penetration of sunlight. With scattered white light, the contrast is rather low. Get low on the angle and increase the contrast by adjusting the shutter speed. Most underwater photographs work the magic during night. The use of strobes can completely eliminate the need for contrast altogether. The subject remains unperturbed in your presence and the photo remains less cluttered as compared to the scattering ambience. Use fill-frame techniques. Remember the fact that water is a denser medium than air. It reduces the colour, contrast and sharpness of the image.

Don’t Watch Your Subjects; Read Them

Watch Your Subjects

The more you watch the subject, harder it gets to place your focus on the frame. The conditions underwater can get pretty murky in a blink of an eye. Read the situation and always keep your camera setting in Forced Flash Mode or FFM. For enticing underwater photographs amidst red stones and golden sands, shoot from an angle higher than the subject. In professional parlance, this mode of shooting is called ‘Shooting Up’.

The advantage of following this mode is that you have consistent flow of water and no scattering at the surface.

Test Your Range


Dark photography is the closest a photographer can get in creating the ambience one would expect underwater. Test the range of your camera with Macro Modes. The FFM won’t work if you are beyond 4 feet. Avoid Auto Flash at all cost. Zoom out of the scene by turning off the Macro Mode options. Closer you are to the subject, sharper your photography gets with Positive Macro Mode.

Create the Difference between Good and Outstanding

Closer it gets under the water, easier it is to shoot the subject. The difference between naked eyes and the camera lenses does all the magic in underwater photography. Expect colours that are washed off. Choose vivid ambience to get those outstanding photographs underwater.

Resolve Backscatter Issues

Resolve Backscatter Issues

Artificial lighting is the poorest tool that a diver can carry with him underwater. It magnifies the issue of backscatter that crops up due to the flash. The backscatter is unavoidable even when internal flash is used. The bouncing of light can dull the photograph with tiny dots. The tiny dots are small particles suspended in water. It is something that you can’t eliminate. Learn to find a way using natural lighting.

Choose a Static Background

Static backgrounds are easy to work with when it comes to shoot photographs underwater. Equally important is to opt for a good foreground subject. Always shoot in a wide-scale frame and put off the landscape mode underwater. Histogram highlighting and framing the grids in your camera for the perfect catch is the key to creating a masterpiece photograph. Cut down on the sharpness and use 100 per cent magnification using items kept parallel to the frame. For shoots with Micro Mode, stay within the focal plane. You would require minimum post-processing editing.

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Shubham Deva

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