Underwater photography has been an important addition to my repertoire as a travel and tourism photographer, literally adding another dimension to my work.
But, like shooting on land, you need to be mindful of working to the strengths of your equipment and the limitations of your environment.
As I’ve written before (click thumbnails below), I travel with the Sony RX 100 compact camera (about the size of your hand), which fits into a solid underwater housing with a detachable ultra-wide-angle lens. I could add lighting strobes to my kit to broaden the range of pictures I capture underwater but the additional weight, expense and hassle (not to mention the patience required), coupled with a low-picture-per-time-invested ratio, makes it commercially unviable. (“Waddaya mean you spent an entire day underwater and came back with two more pictures of a clownfish poking its head out of some anemone.”) And, the fact is, there are many excellent underwater shots being taken by hobbyists with a lot more time than I’ve got who are prepared to give their images to publishers for free just to get their name in lights.
So, I tend to play close to the surface where the light is strong and there’s still plenty of colour (for those who don’t know it, anything you shoot deeper than, say, three metres comes out a flat blue unless you’re using artificial lighting).
Close to the surface, the corals are vibrant, I can better work myself into my environment and I have more flexibility with my settings (…allowing me to waste another couple of thousand shots trying to get that perfect half-above-the-water, half-under-the-water picture, he says).
But, most importantly, as a travel photographer who can do underwater photography, there’s more options to choose from (below) to strengthen my portfolio of travel images.
For previous posts on underwater photography, click the thumbnails below or for more tips on travel photography generally, click here