Tips On Getting The Light Right in Underwater Photography

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Unless you are in very shallow water and there is very bright sunshine with clear visibility, your images will lack the vibrant colors that actually exist in many macro subjects. Water absorbs spectrum of color—especially red. That is one area of underwater photography which you need to fix right away.

Underwater photographers solve this problem by combining two techniques. The first is to get the camera as close to the photographic subject as possible, minimizing the loss of color.  The second method is to use flash to restore any colour lost. Fill flash will compensate for any missing colour by providing full-spectrum visible light to the overall exposure.

1. Natural light is your best friend if you are using a housing for a camera. Ambient light, or natural light is great to shoot with if you are shooting in shallow waters. It enhances the colour of the subject and gives it an ethereal touch to it. You can also use it as backlight, something similar to shooting silhouette on land.

2.  For macro photography, strobes are the sole source of light. With longer focal lengths and shooting with small apertures (higher f/stops), very little, if any, ambient light gets to the sensor. The use of one or more strobes is what lights the subject.

3. Another way to light images is with side lighting or top lighting. Keri says that "side-lighting brings out textures in a subject. Place the primary strobe beside (or slightly behind) the subject, and if you've got a second strobe, you can use it to lightly fill in the subject from the front, to give it some color.

4. There are times when you want a softer, more even light to “wash” across your subject. There are two ways you can do this. One is to add diffusers to your strobes. I keep my diffusers tethered to the strobe so they are available when needed.

5. Professional photographers use external diffused light to work with, especially if they are shooting models in a pool, where they can place the lights at different angles to supplement the natural light. It is necessary to find an even bottom where the lights can stand erect.

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