One of the most exciting ways to shoot has to be underwater imaging. Full of photographic opportunities, is usually done whilst scuba diving, but can of course be done while snorkelling along the surface or even swimming. Specialized equipment and techniques are certainly of advantage here, as cameras made for dry work obviously won’t work underwater. However, protective special housings are nowadays available for most SLRs. You could of course get yourself a waterproof digital camera (anybody else hearing those Christmas bells?)!
Here’s a few hints, tips and pics to get you in the mood, and improve your skills:
For most photos (within 3-4ft), you will need the flash on. Make sure your flash is set to “forced flash”, not “auto-flash”. The flash will add color to your shots, otherwise they will look blue.
Also, you’ll want to be in macro mode. Although keep your camera zoomed out (the widest setting). That is so important is because it affects how closely you can focus. If you zoom in, you can’t focus as closely to the subject (which defeats the purpose of macro mode). The better strategy here is to get closer to the subject.
Try to get within a few inches of the subject. Get very low, at eye-level, and (of course) focus on the eyes. Note that having the subject facing you makes for great photos. Remember – the closer you are, the better your color, contrast and sharpness will be. Always try to fill the frame with your subject.
Be prepared – Set up your camera, housing, etc indoors (and take some practice shots). Test your settings. Everything will work similarly to how it will work underwater, although indoors focusing will be easier. You’d be surprised how many people wait until they get underwater to actually try out settings.
Get some “Half underwater, half above” shots – These usually take a few tries but tend to be super impressive if you get it right.