Useful Tips on Underwater Portrait Photography

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Shooting with a model in a pool or in the sea is an exciting method of experimenting with underwater photography. It poses a different challenge in terms of photography and composition, as compared to shooting aquatic life, which is usually stationary.

One needs to remember that all the basic photography principles apply underwater as well. But there are a bunch of other things which might crop up underwater, which you might be unprepared for. Here are five such useful underwater photography tips which will help you capture some fantastic images of your model and have fun in the water.

Underwater Photography Tips for Portraits


  • Under the surface of water, the deeper you go, colours will start fading, especially red. So try not to go too deep and stick to within a couple of inches of the surface. That will also ensure that natural or ambient light is in plenty. And the model is going to need to breath every now and then, so frequent trips to the surface to catch some air won’t take up a lot of your time if you are not that far down anyway.

  • Make sure you have the equipment ready and all safety gears in place, not just to help you work properly underwater but also when you come out. Wear goggles while shooting so that your vision is not compromised.

  • Fabric is the best prop you can use underwater. Most fabrics get heavy and sticky in water, so avoid those. Use lightweight, sheer and flowy fabric like organza or chiffon underwater which flows very well. It will give a dreamy, breezy effect to the entire photo and is perfect in displaying the playfulness of water.

  • Ask your models not to hold breath till the time they start looking constipated. A round face puffed with air is not exactly a photogenic face. So ask them to exhale and blow bubbles out, as even that gives a nice effect to the photos. Bubbles will reflect light in a different manner, so it adds texture to the photo.

  • Use a wide-angle lens if possible rather than zoom into an underwater scene. By cutting the distance that light has to travel, your images will be clearer, with more fine detail like colour and expression visible.



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