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Simple Tips for Taking Underwater Photos

As a new photographer, you may have an interest in different types of photography and taking photos underwater may be one of those. There are a couple ways to take these photos, using an underwater camera or a housing made for your existing camera. Even though the specifics of things like aperture and flash will differ significantly between the two, there are certainly some basic tips that apply to both. Keep these items in mind when trying for some underwater shots worthy of a digital picture frame.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Shots underwater are as different as air and water. That’s because water is more dense and your camera will respond differently than it does above water. Try to practice taking shots in a swimming pool or shallow water to get a feel for working underwater with your camera and seeing the differences in your shot settings. You will have new challenges to work through including adjusting the camera settings underwater and constantly moving subjects.

Go Wide and Tight

One of the differences you will be adjusting for includes the ability of water to magnify everything the camera sees. Your best way to compensate for this is to use the widest angle lens you have or use the macro setting on your camera. Some cameras may have a fixed underwater setting you can use.

Along with a wide angle, you will want to get as close to your subject as possible. You may think being further away can compensate for a wider angle lens, but you need to come in tight for a couple of important reasons. First, you need the light. Unless you buy a lot of expensive equipment, you won’t have enough light to shoot very deep or very far away from your subject without problems. Second, because of the endless backdrop of ocean or water, your shot won’t be as dynamic as if you come in tight to focus on your subject.

Use Mother Nature

In order to get the most natural light for your shots, make sure to be in the water at the best time of the day for overhead light. Around mid-morning to mid-afternoon is when the sun will give you the most light for your shots. But keep in mind, as the day goes along, the tide or surface of the water may become more rough. As the water stirs, it will affect your shots, and when the sand mixes in you’re done for the day.

One Subject at a Time

As you start with your underwater photography, try to focus on one item in your shot at a time. This will not only help you compose more interesting shots, but allow you to find the settings that work best with your camera. Keeping the subject matter simple allows you to shoot the same subject with different settings and keep track of what works.

See Eye To Eye

If you are a diver and want to start taking underwater shots, you’re already ahead of the game. But even if you’re not, you’ll want to try and get at eye level or below with your subject. This allows you more options on the angle and composition of your photo to get the detail that you need. Speaking of eyes, always aim to have the eyes of your subject in sharp focus.

Learning underwater photography will mean getting used to shooting through water and the challenges that creates. Make sure your equipment is watertight and it’s safe to be close to the subject matter you want to shoot. And don’t forget the composition guidelines you’ve already learned in photography. The rule of thirds and other basics still apply. When you’ve got some great shots you’re proud to display, consider the Nixplay Seed by Nixplay, a leader in digital picture frames, to magnify your new-found talent!


Melanie Valenzuela has been writing about business topics for several years and currently writes on behalf of the digital picture frame specialists at Nixplay. When not writing, she can be found working on her world perspective through travel; or challenging her heart rate through tennis, running or attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game. You can find her on LinkedIn.


January 7, 2016

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