Underwater Photography

The Secrets to Great Underwater Macro Photography

Underwater macro photography requires you to undertake quite a bit of research. You need to have a working knowledge of where you can find good subjects and at what depths they can be found. You also need to check out some of the photos taken at these dive sites to have an idea of what works best and if ever there is anything that can be done to capture better images. After visualizing what shots you want to take, you can then proceed to choosing which lens to take on your dive.

underwater macro photographyHave you ever dreamed of being a certified expert in underwater macro photography? Well, if you want to make your dreams a reality, you better be prepared for a lot of work. Are you up for the challenge? If you are, here are some things you need to know to help you achieve your goals.

Some Helpful Tips in Grasping Cool Underwater Macro Photography

Do some research. Underwater macro photography requires you to undertake quite a bit of research. You need to have a working knowledge of where you can find good subjects and at what depths they can be found. You also need to check out some of the photos taken at these dive sites to have an idea of what works best and if ever there is anything that can be done to capture better images. After visualizing what shots you want to take, you can then proceed to choosing which lens to take on your dive.

There are a lot of great dive sites ideal for this purpose. If you don’t want to go too far away from home, you can try the diving sites in Southern California. However, if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, then you may want to visit the world renowned diving sites in Anilao, Batangas in the Philippines, the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia, or Sidapan in Malaysia. You may likewise want to explore the majestic underwater beauty of Bali, Papua New Guinea and British Columbia, to name a few.

Know the best time to take the shot. Moment and presentation play an important role in underwater photography. As such, you should know the best time to push your shutter release button. If you did your research as suggested earlier, you probably don’t need to worry about this since you’ll know the instinctive behavior of your subjects and the best time to catch them striking the pose you want to capture.

Be on the lookout for mimicking and predatory responses since these are some of the most interesting animal behaviour that you will want to explore and capture on film. You may also want to observe for any peculiar feeding, mating and brooding habits since these can also make for some very interesting photos.

Consider your presentation. If you want to capture some really cool underwater images, you need to give your composition, lighting, background, exposure, focus and depth of field a lot of thought.

  • Composition. Before taking a shot, you need to think about your composition. Would a head-on treatment be good for this particular shot or would filling the frame or shooting from underneath be the better way to go? If you’re not quite sure, you can try experimenting to see which one will work best.
  • Lighting. The next thing you need to consider is lighting. Depending on the natural texture of your subject, the water visibility and the effect you want to produce, you may want to use front, side or back lighting.
  • Background. The decision on what background you want to use depends mainly on your style and personal preference. Use your better judgement in coming up with the best background and don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • Exposure. Always make sure that you have the proper exposure. If you have a TTL converter, you don’t really have to worry about this since your camera will automatically set the right exposure as your strobe flashes.
  • Focus. Determine where you would want to focus. For most, it would be the eyes or the rhinophores in the case of mollusks. Some underwater photographers say that alternating between the continuous and single-shot focus modes works best for them.
  • Depth of Field. Feel free to set your F-stop depending on the DOF you want to use. If you want to blur your background, then use a smaller F-stop. On the other hand, if you want to bring more of the background into focus, then use a larger F-stop. As mentioned earlier, don’t be afraid to experiment with your shots.

While underwater macro photography may require a considerable amount of preparation, the rewards of capturing awe-inspiring images under the sea can be a reward in itself. So, are you ready to do your research and take that dive to bring home some great underwater photos? Well, you should really consider doing it the soonest!

Did today’s post inspire you to take your underwater macro photography to the next level? I hope it did!

Have fun,

Ray Baker