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Underwater Photography and Video

Getting Started in Underwater Photography

Photo: Brian Dombrowski
Photo: Brian Dombrowski

It’s fair to claim people share one common motivation for becoming certified scuba divers: The underwater world is full of amazing things to see. Living tropical coral reefs, shipwrecks laden with historical artifacts, and caverns with ancient geological formations offer unique and exciting visual experiences to those choosing to explore them as divers.

With so much to see underwater, it only seems natural for divers to consider some form of underwater photography sometime during their diving career. Photos and video are great ways to preserve, relive, and share a diving experience with others, whether they be divers or not.

A decision to begin underwater photography must go beyond just an interest in taking pictures underwater. Here are some things to consider.

Diving Skills

Foremost, one needs to first evaluate their skills as a diver. Being a safe and sufficiently confident diver is mandatory. Superior buoyancy control is a must. Performing underwater photography requires a diver to multitask. That is, be able to safely dive and control buoyancy while simultaneously composing and taking pictures. Being a safe diver is your first responsibility. Learn how to master your buoyancy control first. If you’re ready to multitask as a photographer underwater, your buoyancy should be not only controlled but nearly second nature.

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Basic Shooting Techniques

Our Basic Shooting Techniques section helps to bring together facts from all the other sections to improve your underwater photo shooting knowledge. This section also touches on subjects that impact your ability to have an opportunity to shoot, as well as shooting technique itself.

Basic video shooting techniques overview

Most rules of topside video are applicable when shooting underwater video. Composition involves the same elements and guidelines such as the rule of thirds, leading looks, leading lines, and color balance. However, the underwater environment adds some new challenges to conquer in order to get decent video.

Here are the sections of this article to read over for basic video shooting techniques:

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Underwater Video Camera Housings

An underwater housing is what keeps your camera dry at depth. This is a critical job, since one drop of saltwater hitting the camera in the wrong place can destroy it. The prominent companies making housings generally have this problem well solved by design, else they wouldn’t be in business very long. However, being a dependable moisture barrier is not the only important quality to look for in housings. There are other key features and characteristics that, if absent, can really limit the capabilities and enjoyment of your underwater video system. We’ll look at all these areas to help you make a choice that’s right for you.