Special thanks to Bo Mancao of Dive Local Network, one of the most famous underwater photographers in the Philippines.
Underwater Photography Tips
There’s nothing more exciting about diving than bringing your experiences back to the surface via underwater photography. Whether you share your images with your family and friends, on the internet, or by way of prints for your home or office, underwater photography lets you share the thrill and adventure of every dive.
While capturing photos underwater has been more expensive and difficult in the past, divers today have many affordable and easy to use solutions, thanks to digital photography. So what does it take to get good shots underwater?
Let’s have a look…
- Before attempting to take pictures underwater, scuba divers must perfect their buoyancy skills. Mastering the ability to float neutrally in the water is essential to achieving good results. Be sure you have the correct weight and the proper BCD in order to achieve control of your buoyancy with the camera system you have.
- Take Digital Underwater Photography along with Project AWARE Fish ID and know what you are taking pictures ofKnow the animals and the environment you are going to photograph. It helps to participate in an AWARE Fish Identification or Underwater Naturalist Specialty course to learn how to find and understand the critters you are going to see.
- Photographers and Videographers have a tendancy to use more gas, and want to stay longer, two things that do not compliment each other well. Consider increasing your skills to offset these problems. A Enriched Air course will make more bottom time available to you, a sidemount or twintank course such as Tec 40 will allow you to carry more gas.
- The deeper you go while scuba diving, the less light available for underwater photography. Along with the scuba gear required for these dives, plan to bring an external flash for your camera equipment to add back the light lost with depth. A PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course can show you how to effectively choose and use an underwater flash.
- As with any new scuba gear that you purchase, you should try out new scuba photography equipment in a pool prior to diving, whenever possible. You will also want to take new camera housings underwater without the camera to ensure they are functioning properly. You don’t want to find problems with the housing while your camera is in it!
- While out on the dive boat be sure to keep camera gear out of the sun and away from heavy dive gear like scuba tanks and weight belts.
- When shooting pictures underwater, follow two important rules. Get close to your subject and shoot at upward angles. This will allow you to fill the frame and get separation of your subject from the background.
- Focus on a particular type of underwater photography, such as close-up or scenic and perfect your skills before moving on to the next type of shot. Avoid the shotgun approach of trying to capture everything that you see.
- When traveling with underwater photography gear, be sure to pack carefully to protect your gear. Be aware of current air travel restrictions and pack accordingly.
- Be sure to visit your local PADI Dive shop or Resort before your next photo dive to get essential photo items like lanyards to secure your camera, o-ring grease, memory cards and batteries.
- Most of all, remember what you learned in your scuba diving class. You are a diver first and then a photographer. Your safety and that of divers around you depends on keeping this in mind at all times.
PADI Underwater Photography Courses
Underwater photography is one of the most popular diving specialties, and the rise of digital underwater photography has made it easier and more fun than ever. This is why there are actually two PADI underwater photography courses. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course gets you going quickly with today modern digital equipment, whether you use a point-and-shoot snap camera or a sophisticated D-SLR like the pros. The PADI Underwater Photographer course is a more traditional photography course designed for conventional film equipment.
What does it cover?
The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Course Online includes all the knowledge development requirements for the course. If you want to take digital photos and video near, around or underwater this course will teach you how. In the first two sections, the focus is primarily on still photography – whether you take digital still images with a camera or camcorder. Finally, Section Three covers some specific tips on how to image quality underwater video with digital cameras.
Who can benefit from completing the course?
The course is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to use a digital camera or video underwater and also helps improve the skills and knowledge of those who already have some experience with underwater digital imaging. The course is open to snorkelers, aquatic enthusiasts and certified divers of all levels. Snorkelers and scuba divers may be certified as PADI Digital Underwater Photographers upon completion of the skills portion of the course.
How does it work?
After enrolling, PADI’s eLearning® system presents you with interactive presentations that include videos, audio, graphics and reading. Short quizzes let you check understanding of the presented information before moving on. This lets you go through the program efficiently and at your own pace. End-of-section exams verify your mastery of the entire topic and are automatically scored.
What else is required to complete the course?
Unlike other PADI eLearning® system presents you with interactive presentations that include videos, audio, graphics and reading. Short quizzes let you gauge your progress, and review and correct anything you might happen to miss. This lets you move through the program efficiently and at your own pace.
What else is required to complete the course? Prior to certification as a PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Level One, you must complete a training dive in a pool, confined water or open water with a PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Instructor. The Level One certification is open to snorkelers and the certification card issued for that level will state that it is a non-diving certification level. For divers in training or divers that are already certified, certification as a PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Level Two requires you to complete a second open water training dive. Contact your PADI Dive Center or Resort to schedule these sessions.
How long do you have to complete the eLearning course?
The eLearning course will be available for one year from the time of course registration.