Photo Tips 5

For more information on classes, trips, and photography schedules and costs - E-Mail Peggy Goldberg at pgoldberg@goldenimages- or talk to her in person at 352.591.1508.

Additional Hints for the Beginner

In my previous articles on getting started in underwater photography, we talked about controlling buoyancy and getting comfortable with your diving skills. We also touched upon the need to get very close to your subject, looking up and  spending time with each shot - changing strobe positions and distances, and bracketing exposures. Taking as many different shots of your subject as you can will increase your chances of a "keeper", as will trying to shoot macro first. We also warned you about focusing underwater -using the apparent distance, not the actual distance to determine how you focus. When you use your rangefinder Nikonos, be aware of parallax error at close distances. If this all seems Greek to you, and you have no idea what I’m talking about, review the previous four articles first.
Here are some more helpful hints for the beginner that will help you get more successful faster....some of these rules also apply to land/nature photography, too.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to approach one photographic problem at a time. Don’t try to learn everything at once - as I’ve said above, try macro first.


Flamingo tongue and sun- Using my housed camera with a 60mm lens, I decided to try a more "environmental" shot of the Flamingo tongue in it's natural setting, with the sun behind. Again, I could have taken a macro shot with the same lens (looking like every other macro shot of the snail), but decided to try something different

Once you get good and comfortable with that, then get into wide angle.


Sea fan, sun , and anemone - Using a 15mm lens, I got within 1-2' of this large anemone, positioned myself so the sun was behind the fan for a more dramtic effect. I metered for the open water, and set the strobe for the distance. You can also try using 1/4 power and see how your strobe does.

This is the hardest one of all for any photographer. Record the technical data (i.e., shutter speed, distance, aperture, etc) as you take you shots. You will find out which settings work best for you. This will save you an enormous amount of time and film later on, and reduce future mistakes. This is the one piece of advice that most photographers really need to do over an extended period of time, but will throw out the window and forget to do after the first roll of film....How much do you wanna bet? (I should talk, even with the best intentions to do so, I forget, too!)
Before your dive, note the position of the sun. You may want to take some of your shots with the sun in them for dramatic backlit and silhouette shots.

Diver in silhouette- When you are too far away to use your strobe on the subject, try putting the sun behind the subject for an interesting effect

At first, don’t try and refocus for each shot - preset the focus for around 3-4’ and approach your subject (slooowly) until it is in focus. Note those little red markers in the lens - that is your depth of field indicators. They tell you what will be in focus at those distances. I will talk about this in more detail in the future.
Preset your strobe out of the water first, for the subject distance you are most likely to use. When you need to aim the strobe at your subject underwater, aim the strobe one-third behind the subject. Remember in the last article, where we talked about actual and apparent distance?  Your subject is actually behind where you see it, so when you aim behind the subject, you are actually aiming at your subject! (Remember, when you focus, the reverse is true - you focus at the apparent distance).  Keep repeating this phrase -"Isn’t underwater photography fun?"
Now you know why a lot of underwater photographers are going bald (from pulling out their hair), or going prematurally grey. And this is only the beginning!
Don’t get discouraged, though, with a little (heck, a lot), of practice it will all become second nature to you. Unless of course, you only do that one dive trip a year, and don’t touch your underwater camera til the week before....then you are screwed.
Contact me at with any questions, comments and
suggestions. Dive Safe!

[Home] [Articles] [Classes] [Commercial] [Photo Tips] [Photo Gallery]


Please contact our Webmaster with questions or comments.
Copyright 2000-2021 Golden Images, Inc. All rights reserved.