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Underwater Photography Tips

Using a photo camera underwater is a lot harder than taking photos on land and most first-time underwater photographers end up being very disappointed with their results. To help new photographers, we will give you some tips in this blog to improve your first trials. Even more experienced photographers will benefit by being reminded of some points.

The first step is to make sure the camera is protected by the underwater housing. This means: Look and make sure there is no dirt or sand on the o-ring. Check for hair on the o-ring and make sure you didn’t accidentally catch the wrist lanyard from the camera in the housing. Occasionally you have to lubricate the o-ring of the housing with silicone grease. Take care to only apply a very small amount of grease; if you can see the grease on the o-ring, you’ve put on way too much! Check your set-up in a fresh water tank for bubbles. Luckily there are now cameras that are waterproof till a certain depth, even without the housing. Bali Diving Academy’s rentals cameras fall in this category.

Get familiar with the settings of your camera. Most cameras have an auto setting, which will eliminate a lot of fussing around under water. Once you feel more comfortable with it you could put the settings on shutter time. Since fish move constantly this could cause a “motion blur” if the shutter speed is too long. 1/160 of a second will “freeze” the motion.

Since you are handling a still camera it is most important to keep it STILL. If you move, your photo will be blurry, so keep your camera steady. Stop, compose, focus and press the button! The flash on your camera should only be used for close-ups, as its reach is no more than 2 to 3 meters. With far away subjects the flash will only illuminate particles floating in the water and thereby create “backscatter” on your photo. That brings us to the next important point: Get as close as possible to your subject! Details, colours and sharpness will all be much better that way. There are few things worse than looking at someone’s photos and the subject is so small that you cannot even identify what it is! Also, you will not lose too much resolution if you want to crop the photo. Once you come back from the dive, rinse your camera in fresh water and dry it off before you open it.

If you could not wash the camera directly after the dive and it dried with salt water still on it, it is recommended to soak the housing in fresh water for a few minutes to dissolve salt crystals and clean it properly. You are now ready to check how your photos came out. Even if some of them are not perfect, you can still improve many photos by editing with a good program. Bali Diving Academy is conducting underwater photography workshops that will help you to take the phenomenal photos you always dreamed of and also teach you how to edit photos afterwards. We also have cameras available for rent. For more information please contact us.

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