Guide to Underwater Photography

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Shooting underwater is an exciting challenge, which tests a lot of your skills. It combines photography with good swimming and scuba diving skills in a way which makes the entire process no less than a vacation.

The vibrant life and colours which one can find underwater in a pond or the sea can be a thrilling experience. But do your homework first, buy proper equipment like a camera, its housing, diving gear etc. Get your basics of photography right, and follow these additional tips which will get your some exhilarating photographs of the aquatic life.

1. Try to get within a few inches of the subject. The closer you get, the better you will be able to capture the details and colours of sea animals. Try to get very low, at eye-level and get a photo of the subject facing you.

2. If you are taking photos with the flash off (which is ideal when the subjects more than 3ft away), also known as using ambient light, and you want better color, then you can either use the underwater mode, or even better, do a manual white balance.

3. Your housing (in which the camera is placed) should come with a "flash diffuser", although it might be built into the housing. This diffuser will be placed in front of your internal flash and will soften the light while you click pictures.

4. Try adjusting the exposure value (EV). Increasing the EV will make photos brighter in low light conditions, but at the expense of less contrast. Reducing the EV will make the photos darker but will increase the contrast.

5.  While shooting underwater, set your focus mode to AI-Servo (or Continuous Servo, if you’re shooting with a Nikon camera). This will speed up your focusing while tracking a moving subject underwater. Shoot 1/60 sec to 1/125 to avoid motion blur. If you’re shooting on automatic mode, do this by using Shutter Priority Mode. But professional photographers will tell you to switch to manual mode the moment you start feeling confident and comfortable.

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