Underwater photography isn’t for the easily unmotivated. Aside from being technically difficult, there are an assortment of other concerns. It requires a lot of forethought and planning. If you are thinking about getting started in underwater portraiture or have already tried your hand at it, the advice Brooke Shaden shares in the video below could prove to be invaluable:
Tips For Taking Underwater Photos
- If you’re not shooting in water that is naturally dark, use a large piece of black cloth as a backdrop behind your subject.
- Make sure the lighting on your subject is even.
- Once you and your model have discussed the pose, have them swim all the way to the bottom of the water then pose and slowly float up while holding the pose.
- Wide lenses make the job easier, because you can get in closer to the subject and still get full body shots.
- Take more shots than you think you need. Even if some of the images don’t look great, it’s possible to composite good segments of the bad photos into other images to create the perfect image.
- When shooting in murky water, be patient. Wait until the water settles before you have your model pose.
- Always have an assistant on hand to help out in case something goes wrong. This is especially important if the model is wearing a dress or clothing that weighs her down or could tangle around her when submerged in water.
Shaden, well known for her surreal self-portrait series, has been photographing underwater since the beginning of her career. She formerly shot with a Canon 5D Mark II with an Ikelite underwater housing but has since moved onto a waterproof Panosonic Lumix point and shoot, which she loves for its ease of use, portability, and great image quality.
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