HOW TO PHOTOGRAPHY UNDER WATER
Fans of underwater photography are constantly testing new equipment, looking for ways to get spectacular shots of people and marine fauna, and studying the opinions of colleagues on the forums. Experimenting, you can try out first hand useful tricks, handy devices and life hacking, obtained from other authors. Anna and Andy Zofka, a married couple of wedding photographers involved in diving photography, prepared a few tips for those who love the underwater world as much as they do.
Most photographers interested in underwater photography start with a GoPro, compact camera or even a mobile phone in a plastic bag. This technique has serious limitations, so you should immediately switch from it to something more advanced.
Andy and Anna purchased the Ewa Marine plastic case for the Sony A7RII, but could not make contact with it and quickly sold it by switching to professional Ikelite. This is one of the most affordable options in the pro segment. If size doesn’t matter to you, this is a good choice.
Buying an underwater hull is a serious step. The devices are quite expensive, they are designed only for a specific camera, and for them you need to buy a port to the lens separately – flat, for macro photography, or dome, for wide-angle equipment. In water, the viewing angle decreases by about 25-30%, so a 24 mm lens will become 30-35 millimeter. The unique device Dome ports are used to partially or completely eliminate this effect.
Photographers worked with natural underwater light, so they did not need to mount flashes. A fisheye lens with an impressive depth of field is well suited for underwater photography. Dome ports help capture more stage space and help make spectacular shots above and below the object. To avoid distortion, the object is placed in the center of the frame (or corrects the distortion during post-processing). For the next shoot, the couple plans to use a 28mm lens.
In order to shoot well underwater, you need to carefully plan your work and take into account many factors.
Clean water. Calm salt water is much more transparent than fresh water. Chemicals are added to the seemingly clean water of the pools, the negative effect of which can be seen only in the photograph.
Waves. Even if the surface of the water near the shore seems calm, in the depths the flow can be activated.
Sea bottom. Practicing underwater shooting with heavy and bulky equipment is better in shallow water, even if you are a good swimmer / diver. Both you and your models should make sure that they are able to get up on their feet if necessary. The sandy bottom reflects the light beautifully, but there is more sludge in the water, and the rocky one, although it is found in clean pools, less “highlights” the image and is more dangerous for moving along it.
Flow. It should be avoided – find out in advance where it is stronger. Especially dangerous is the reverse current – active and occurring near the shore.
Dangerous fauna. Ask if there are jellyfish, scorpion fish, sea urchins in the area, they are harmless, but it’s unpleasant to step on them.
Ecology. Do not disturb the order of life of marine life and do not interfere with them – if in doubt, find another place.
Times of Day. Noon is suitable for shooting with natural light – the sun’s rays penetrate deep into the water.
Location in relation to the sun. Think about where it will be during the shooting, how the subject will be lit, what will happen to the background.
Features of the equipment. Study the camera settings, the location of controls, learn in advance all the functions of technology.
Preparation of equipment for shooting
Equipment occupies an important place in underwater photography, so it needs to be prepared in advance, thoroughly and without haste. Mount the box and equipment in a well-lit place (not on the beach or in a small boat) – an error and, as a result, wet equipment will cost you dearly. Check the o-rings (if there is any debris in them, damage), after lubricating, remove all excess material. Clean the port, especially inside, before placing the camera and closing the case. Check if the equipment is pre-charged, whether there is a memory card.
To minimize the body misting inside, you can put moisture absorbing wipes. Check if they block control of the camera. Closed the case? Check all the parts again, and if there is a vacuum valve in it, do not be lazy to look for leaks using a pump with a sensor. Do not expose the equipment to direct sunlight and take care not to scratch it in the water or on the shore.