How To Get Into Underwater Photography

August 10, 2023 3 min read

a scuba diver taking a photo of a turtle

Underwater photography is the perfect way to immortalise memories from the water to share with family and friends. Of course, nothing quite compares to enjoying the delights of the dive with your own two eyes, but great photos can uniquely evoke the wonder of the ocean and help you recall the essence of your adventures long after you’ve made it back to the shore.

It can feel a little daunting if you are wondering how to get into underwater photography, particularly as it's an art that poses a challenge to even the most creative. Fear not, our tips will have you turning your shaky dive photos into feed-worthy content in next to no time.

Get The Right Equipment

Before you jump in and get snapping, pause for a second and consider whether you have the right means of taking photos. Just as you’d invest in high-quality scuba gear, it’s also essential to invest in the right equipment for underwater photography and you will need to make sure that your camera is able to function safely down in the big blue.

You can buy special housing that allows you to use high-spec DSLR cameras underwater, though this tends to be heavy and bulky which can get in the way during your dive. We recommend a lightweight and specialist underwater camera instead, such as the Sealife Micro 3.0. This compact camera is permanently sealed to help you take fuss-free photos without compromising the quality of your dive. Alternatively, you could make the most of your smartphone camera and hone your iPhone underwater photography skills with the Sealife SportDiver underwater housing.

Once you’ve got your hands on the right underwater camera or underwater camera housing, you can start to experiment with dive torches to illuminate your subject as well as different kinds of lenses and filters.

Refine Your Skills

With the right camera in hand, you’ll be ready to start taking some epic underwater photos. There’s no harm in diving right in and capturing anything and everything you see, but we would recommend getting to grips with some photography basics first if you want to really master your craft. Many of the core skills of photography on land can be taken into the water, such as therule of thirds which helps to get your composition right every time. Try keeping a chosen subject in focus on the shore or boat and then slowly practise with a steady hand in shallow waters. When you’re happy with the pictures you’re taking, it’s time to increase the challenge levels.

Keep Practising

Your photographs will start to get more interesting in deeper water where marine life is more diverse. However, deeper waters bring further challenges to both beginner and more advanced photographers so be ready to keep practising even when you know your way around the camera. Many budding underwater photographers find that their photos are frustratingly dark as water absorbs more light than air, but this can be easily rectified as you practise getting closer to your subject to create a sharper image. Don’t be afraid to play around and try new things out either. Experimenting with different angles and settings is not just a great way to gain confidence as a photographer, it’s also sure to help you take unique and interesting snaps.

Remember The Basics

As you start to take underwater photographs that really wow, don’t forget the skills that got you to this point. It’s essential that you continue to follow the correct safety procedures and communicate effectively with your buddy or group as you get stuck into your snaps. Show respect to the marine life that you are photographing and leave no trace like you would when diving without a camera. You should never move or disturb an animal for the benefit of a photograph, nor should you be tempted to come into contact with reefs just to secure a different angle.

Share Your Work

Once you’ve built up a bank of impressive shots, don’t forget to share them with the world! Stick your pictures on the ‘gram and share them with friends and family on Facebook. You’ll get instant feedback to help you refine your craft, and you might even find that you start to receive wider recognition and awareness that could turn underwater photography into a serious hobby.

We’d love to see your underwater snaps! Tag Aquanauts in your diving photos on Facebook or Instagram to share them with us. We’ll be reposting some of our favourites on our own social media pages, giving you the chance for your photos to be seen by an audience of like-minded divers.


Noeleen Smith
Noeleen Smith

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