|You may be a good photographer above water, but this may not help when it comes to shooting under water. Water absorbs colors, reduces visibility and magnifies objects. The light you take for granted becomes dark and blurry blue the deeper you dive.
We hope these tips help:(if you have any other tips please email us)
Cameras: Whether your budget allows you to buy an amphibious 35mm camera like the Nikonos or simply a housing unit for a regular camera, the choices are many. Consider weight, simplicity, and ease of use when selecting a camera-you have enough to think about to dive safely. Don't try to shoot underwater until you're certified and have a few dives comfortably under your weight belt. You will take better pictures if you aren't shaking or unstable in the water. One of the most important skills to master in order to take great photos is buoyancy, this will help you avoid stirring the sand on the bottom or dislodging the silt on a sponge.
Read the Owner's Manual: This may sound silly, but how many times have you bought something tossed the manually aside eventually having to refer back when you come across a problem you can't figure out. You must know the point of focus for the primary lens and each accessory optic. Plus, you should understand the idiosyncrasies of each of the options. For example the Ikelite Auto 35 and the MX-5 work well in the two- to four-foot range.
Use a flash: Since colors are filtered out the deeper you go a flash (strobe) is necessary to restore the natural color spectrum to the otherwise blue world. Strobes are essential to effective underwater photography and without them most underwater photos will seem drab and lackluster. At only ten feet colors begin to fade noticeably and a strobe will help bring back the colors. Another advantage of strobe lighting is illuminating detail in shaded areas.
Balance flash to daylight: By using flash balanced in power to the available sunlight you can achieve natural-looking photographs. Make sure you position the flash at a 45-degree angle and close to the subject. This way you get divers floating against a beautiful blue background and not black backgrounds and snowy back-scatter from floating particles.
Backscatter: Obviously water isn't as clear as air and it's filled with floating particulates like plankton. When you use a flash, the light reflects off of all that dirt and particles in the water and some of it invariably shows up as tiny white specs in an otherwise fantastic photo. You are more likely to get backscatter in your pictures the further you are from your subject. If you are using a camera with a built in flash you may want to get closer to your subject or consider purchasing an external flash of strobe. These are usually mounted on a moveable arm and will help avoid backscatter by getting some distance from the lens so that the light doesn't reflect straight back at the camera.
Light Underwater: since water is 800 times denser than air, as light as light enters the water, it interacts with the water molecules and suspended particles such as plankton to cause loss of light, loss of color, diffusion, loss of contrast and other effects. Colors loss will start at approximately 2ft and by 10-15ft will be dramatically noticeable. Reds and oranges are the first to disappear, later the yellows, greens and purples and lastly blue. In order to counteract this color loss you will need to use a flash or strobe on your camera. In Hawaii the sun is overhead at mid-day and due to the greater penetration of the sun's rays at this time this is one of the best times for underwater photography.
Get Close: Since water is 800 times denser than air, suspended particles of sediment and plankton cloud your normal vision and make it necessary to get as close as possible to your subject. When you think you have gotten close enough, try and get a little closer. To capture big subjects, get close with wide-angle lenses and for small subjects, use macro lenses. The 28- to 15-millimeter lens replaces a 50mm land lens as the standard lens under water. With visibility averaging five to 40 feet, pictures are best taken within 10 feet. With a 15mm lens, a full-length picture of a diver can be taken from a distance of about five feet.
Look Skyward: Take pictures at a slightly upward angle toward the surface when possible. This will produce a clean blue background clear of excessive detail that may unnecessarily clutter a photo.
We hope the above suggestions may help correct some of the underwater photo problems you may face, but remember there's no substitute for experience and practice. The best advice we can give to shoot a lot of film, makes notes after your dive on what you did, how close you go to your subject and you may want to consider taking a photography class. These are offered at many dive shops and will help improve your basic skills. If you have any more tips that you think we should have here, please email them to us.