Taking beautiful underwater photographs has never been easier. All you need is one of the many point and shoot cameras that are so easily available, put on a snorkel, a pair of fins and off you go! You don’t even need to be a diver to get into this addictive hobby and I promise you that when you start taking underwater photographs, it will be super difficult to stop! Before you get in the water, don’t forget to check your o-ring for that dreaded stray hair that could so easily flood your camera if left un-spotted. A magnifying glass is always a big help to avoid this, so don’t forget to pack it and a set of foam applicator sponges to keep the groove area nice and clean. It is always best to take your housing for a quick dip without the camera first, just to be on the safe side or dunk it in a rinse bucket.
So now it’s almost time to jump in and get started. Before you do, make sure that you start every underwater adventure with a fresh set of batteries. Double check your camera’s menu options to ensure that the Face Detection Mode is switched off otherwise it may mistake the rock behind your favourite frogfish to be the more important photographic subject than the frogfish itself! When you first enter the water and spot your first fish, it can be so easy to get carried away in a whole new world and snap everything in sight. Just be careful as otherwise you may not have enough memory card space, or battery life for when that award winning whale shark swims past you …. Remember to get as close to your subject underwater as possible, filling the frame so that your subject makes a fabulous impact in the photograph to make all your friends say “WOW!”
If you are within a foot of your subject, don’t forget that all important magical ‘macro’ button to keep your subjects pin sharp and in focus! Are your underwater photos suffering from the blues? Using either the camera’s own built-in flash if you are photographing a small subject, or using an external flash will really help to give your underwater photographs a spectacular burst of punch and vibrancy. These are easily attached to your camera system by the use of a try and flex arm and can be positioned to light your favourite subjects in all different ways. Alternatively, you could also use a torch, but just be careful with those shyer subjects as they can swim away faster than you think!
Using the camera’s custom white balance feature is a fabulous way to put colours back into your underwater photographs the fast,easy way and all that you need to do is push a button! Just remember to keep your flash switched off after setting it to avoid your subjects turning a bright shade of pink! These are just a few simple tips to get you up and running with your compact camera. Remember whether you are a snorkeller or diver to get close, have fun and always remember where your buddies and/or the boat are. Trust me, it is so easy to get carried away and lose track of everything quite quickly!
More tips and ideas are included in my book available here through the Simply Scuba store so there’s really no more excuses for any blue or out-of-focus shots …. Wishing you the very best of luck with your underwater photography and all the very best for a snaptastic 2012. Maria’s book ‘Underwater Photography for Compact Camera Users’ and DVD ‘Underwater Photography Made Easy for Compact Camera Users’ are both available at Simply Scuba