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Photo Assignment & Feedback for newbee

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I started U/W photography not so long ago. Receiving (constructive) feedback from others has so far taught me most about u/w photography.


However, to make things a little bit more challenging, I would find it very learnful if someone could give me a couple (max 4) specific photo assignments which require special techniques that are currently still out of my range (...a whole lot :)). By figuring out myself how to shoot the assigned pictures, I hope to learn more about u/w photography (even if I don't succeed taking them) and I would be very happy to post the results on this forum for feedback.


My next trip is to Cocos Island next month :) . I am shooting a Sigma 10-20mm for wide angle and a Nikon 60mm for Macro. I have one SB-600 strobe for both wide-angle and macro (still saving money for a slave or second flash).


Looking forward to your responses,




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Hi Vincent,


I'm just starting out too, and what I do is I like to flip through dive mags and then think about how to get similar shots. I guess this is what you mean by a photo assignment?


Sometimes I think I get better shots than those in the mags. Or it may be one :D too many after the dives...haha

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Also relatively new to u/w photography. I like your idea, though I've usually just given myself assignments. I go through questions like these for myself, hopefully they'll be some help to you.


1) What's currently in/out of your range? Judging from your portfolio, you've done a fair bit of natural light w/a, and some macro, so I assume you know the basics there.


2) What are the limitations of your equipment, and how can you work around them? I suspect that you will be technically limited due to the relatively low light output of your SB-600. You may have found clever ways to compensate, but you might also consider a cheap used u/w strobe, could open up some new possibilities.


3) What are you trying to learn? There's all the technical craft - camera settings, strobe position, working with a model, etc.; there's the technique stuff, like how to stalk a shy critter, or get that perfect fish portrait; and of course there's the diving side - excellent neutral buoyancy with a camera. Should be a given, but sadly not.


Also, if you're planning to dive with a group, you may need to shape your assignment accordingly; you probably won't have the chance to take 20 pics of the same subject at different exposures/strobe positions, but you might have the chance to practice shooting with a model, if you can talk someone into it.

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yes, getting people to model is very fun and rewarding as well.


i usually eye divers in brightly coloured dive gear and masks with clear skirts, as they look the best in photos. girls in white bikinis work very well too :P


i would show them some shots on the boat, and explain to them how i would like them to pose. maybe some hand signals as well to help fine-tune the position.


doesn't hurt that i usually end up with their contacts and a dinner... :D


you don't really mean to tell me you spent thousands of dollars merely to get photos underwater?

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I would go with close focus wide angle and work on balancing the strobe light and ambient light.


-use your sigma 10-20mm

-find a non-moving subject (an anemone or soft coral)

-get within 12 inches (30cm)



-get close

-get low (at eye level of your subject or slightly lower)

-get closer (less water = better detail and color)

-shoot up (blue or green water background)


-dial in your strobe position and power (consider a diffuser and a second strobe to fill harsh shadows)

-then adjust shutter speed to balance the ambient light


>>Result: cool shot that relates your main subject with its environment.


Take Care,


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