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Tips and advise for a complete underwater photography novice

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#1 ixbenix


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Posted 01 September 2017 - 12:27 PM

Hello! First post on the forums so go easy on me :bye: .


I'm currently back home for a while saving up before I head back abroad to try and get a job working as a diving instructor.

While I'm home I really want to get some sort of basic underwater photography setup while I have a decent income. 

Reading quite a few reviews I decided to buy a canon s100 for my camera as its really well priced and everyone seems to sing its praises fairly highly. I also read that its really beginner friendly so thought it would be a good camera to start with.


From bits of research I think I'm leaning towards getting the ikelite housing as it seems a fairly sturdy and safe housing to go for while still being relatively priced. What are peoples opinions on this housing?


Also I was thinking about geting a macro lens and a wide angle fish eye lens. Baring in mind this is the first time I've ever really touched photography making me a complete novice (and completely clueless) but I just want to buy them now while I have the money rather than get abroad where I wont have a solid income and wish i'd bought them beforehand. Any tips and advice on what lenses I should buy and which ones would fit with the ikelite housing would be much appreciated.


I've also been toying with the idea of buying a strobe as talking to my friend who is an incredible underwater photographer he always said that a strobe is really important. Do people think its worth me buying one or do you think I'm going a little overboard having never even done any photography before?


Any other tips and advise people would give me would be much appreciated! I've been reading lots of basic photography guides about shooting manually and my little s100 has just arrived so I'm going to start toying around with it! If anyone knows any good guides or articles that are worth a read or watch i'd love to hear about them!




#2 tursiops


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Posted 01 September 2017 - 01:18 PM


Learn the camera first, on land, not underwater.

Learn some photography first, on land, not underwater. Things like exposure, focus, composition.

Read lots of stuff; there are many good books and blogs.

Then, only then, take it underwater. Start in a pool.

Avoid macro and wideangle until you are competent and confident.

Take lots of picture of lots of things.

Then, come on forums like this and ask specific questions.

Have fun.

#3 troporobo


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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:16 AM

Best advice ever!  Take it to heart.  


I will add, what is your objective in taking UW photos?  Do you want snaps to remember your dives for personal use only, do you hope to supplement your living through marketing, do you aspire to a higher creative calling?  There are implications for your gear and more importantly your education. Then read:  








Also get the books by Alex Mustard and Martin Edge, and understand them.  You can read each in a weekend.  Understanding them takes a bit longer.

Edited by troporobo, 02 September 2017 - 06:16 AM.

#4 echo2600



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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:40 AM

Plus one, on Alex Mustard's and Martin Edfe's books. I also found Jim Church's Essential Guide to Composit rather helpful.


One of the great things about shooting in this day and age is the ability to take many, many images, without increasing your costs. So, you can get a lot of practice.

The flip side of that is, especially starting out, remembering what you did to get the good ones and what didn't work, when sifting through, potentially, several hundred images. Think about how you're going to organize your images earlier than later.... a good system will certainly help you locate/recall your work and will help you better analyze the successes and, inevitable, not so great images.

Most importantly, have fun!

Edited by echo2600, 02 September 2017 - 07:41 AM.

#5 ixbenix


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Posted 03 September 2017 - 03:35 AM

Thanks for the replies!


I do appreciate what you are saying in regards to just going out and learning how to use the camera first, my point is though that I'll only really have a solid income for the next 2-3 months before I head abroad so don't really have time to spend months learning exactly how to use the camera before I do leave, and hence want to buy the gear before hand while I can afford it.


Thanks for all the links, i'll have a read through them now.


#6 John Dooley

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 07:03 AM

Hi:) Thatk you for all your tips and advice!! Hope I'll be good at taking underwater photos. I've also read an article in Fixthephoto.com about this kind of hobby and found there a lot of useful information. I'm going to publish my first underwater photo soon!

#7 deanie08


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Posted 09 November 2017 - 02:27 AM

I find it so hard to do underwater photography. Swimming is not my forte and with a camera, underwater is really hard to do. Anyways, I never tried it but who knows I might end up liking it.

Newborn Photography is my focus and wants to explore more.

#8 bossygirl


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Posted 01 March 2018 - 04:18 PM

Following this thread! Thanks for posting.

#9 jonsaenz



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Posted 16 May 2018 - 10:07 PM

Other than the already good advice on learning how f/stop, iso, and shutter speed effects shots and the obvious of learning composition.


The best tip I can give for a beginning underwater photographer is to just remember that shooting in/through water you get a lot more detritus in the shots, so try to minimize the amount of water between your lens and your subject.

#10 BDKulick


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Posted 17 May 2018 - 09:38 AM

For many years, the first rule of underwater photography has been: "Get close to your subject."


Then get closer.

Life is short. Drink the good wine first.

#11 yuch


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Posted 19 June 2018 - 07:23 PM

Great advice. I'm new to underwater photography too

#12 SeaLionScuba



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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:04 PM

The first thing my photography-diver friends said to me when they got me into diving and underwater photography...

"If you think you're close enough ...get closer" :)

I never forgot that rule. Another basic is to do it slowly, quietly. So many anxious beginners try to follow fish to get a photo. They get photos of fish tails. Wait. Be patient & quiet, the fish will turn & look at you. Get the eyes in the shot, profile, angle or face-on. Actually it's much easier to learn by taking photos of things that don't move; corals, sponges, fans... but yes I know turtles are magic & magnetic. Yes practicing with toys in a swimming pool is a good idea. Take notes on the results of different settings. Search these forums, read read read ...and practice.

I still consider myself an amateur after 28 years with assorted cameras. You can have a whole bunch of gadgets yet still get mediocre results, but a few special tools in the hands of a knowledgeable artist can produce wonders. And yes light is very important.

BTW: Once you begin working as an instructor your opportunities to take your camera will be (or should be) very limited. Your purpose in diving will be to take care of/teach/entertain your students. You are diving for them, not yourself. Dive for yourself on your days off.

Just sayin'...

Good luck with your adventures :)

Edited by SeaLionScuba, 14 July 2018 - 07:07 PM.