We’ve all had at least some experience with photography, whether using our phone cameras to snap a quick picture or spending hours getting the perfect set up using expensive equipment, but shooting a photo underwater is a totally different ball game! Episode 26 of the Water Women Podcast features underwater photographer and Wildlife Filmographer Inka Cresswell. In the episode, Inka touches on how she got into underwater photography and how she grew with it. Underwater photography is difficult, but it is also something anyone can be good at if you understand how things work under water!
There are many types of cameras that can be used for different types of underwater photography! One of the most beginner friendly, simple yet durable cameras is the GoPro. GoPro cameras are small and easy to use, they connect to an app on your phone and make it easy to sync up any photos of videos taken! For those looking to just capture memories while underwater GoPros are one of the best choices. Low in cost comparative to more heavy duty advanced cameras, you can get a GoPro for around 300$! For more advanced underwater photography, it's worth investing! A good underwater camera will usually run somewhere over $400! You can check out a more indepth look at some good cameras HERE!
Now that you have your camera and you’re ready to jump into the water, there is some important things to note before you get started! First and foremost, one of the most important things to know is that water absorbs visible light, which means it absorbs colours!. Colours like Red, orange, and yellow get absorbed pretty quickly, followed by greens and purples, and lastly blues! This is a reason some underwater photos look almost monochromatic blue! Luckily, there is a simple fix to this! Strobes and underwater flashlights quickly bring light back in the depth and restore colour, making for excellent photos!
When you are shooting a subject underwater, make sure you’re getting nice and close….even closer than you think you should. Getting close to your subject and using extra lighting will make your photograph look better, and help you avoid backscattering! Water is 800 times more dense than air is, and is filled with tiny particles that can catch light and make it appear as though your lens is dirty!
The way light is refracted in water can also make the subject of your photo appear a lot closer, and larger than it actually is - similar to the “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” concept! To account for this, setting the focal distance of your camera to 3/4ths of that of the actual distance can help!
After you’ve mastered these basics don't be afraid to play around! Try different angles, getting lower and taking photos at a different perspective! Look for contrast between animals and their background, and find what works for you! Don’t forget to edit and process your new photographs in a photo editing software, like photoshop or lightroom, that can help you fix any colour imbalances or blurring! Be Patient! Learning to shoot photography underwater can be difficult! It take a lot to be able to maintain buoyancy, keep track of your air if diving, navigating, watching for any hazards around you and try and get the perfect shot! Don’t get discouraged! Keep Practicing and you’ll be shooting photography like Inka Cresswell in no time!