Underwater photography can be kind of tricky, and taking pictures in this environment is far different than taking pictures of a landscape.  If you have already tried it and it didn’t work out so well, let’s see if we can improve that for you.

Typical problems with underwater pictures are as follows:

  • Pictures are mostly blue
  • It looks like you took a picture of an underwater snowstorm
  • Blurry pictures
  • Not much contrast between background and your subject

Don’t despair, it’s pretty easy to overcome all these problems and have some fairly decent pictures to show your friends.  In the meantime if you want to practice here are some tips to take some great underwater photographs.


When you are trying to take pictures underwater, adjusting the light can be…a bit of an issue.  Even when you use a flash, light gets absorbed extremely quickly and you will lose yellows and reds in your pictures first.  This is why all of your pictures come out blue.  You definitely need a flash and you need to be close enough to your subject for it to be effective.  Bear in mind that light must go to your subject and back to the lens.  You will take the best pictures if you’re within 3 feet of your subject.  Here are some of the problems you will run into with lighting.

Images may be larger than they appear

Your diving instructor probably warned you that sea life will look larger and closer than it really is because of the distortion of the water.  In fact it appears roughly 25% larger.  That is another factor to take into consideration when you determine the range of your flash.  Also you need to be aware that your flash will reflect of tiny particles that are floating in the water…thus the snow globe effect.  The solution to both of these issues is to use a flash that is off to the side of your camera.

Blurry pictures

Blurry pictures are again caused by being too far away from your subject.  Water is much denser than air and that is why it is so hard to get the crispness that you can easily get on land.  Getting closer allows the camera to better define the difference between the subject and the background.

You’re probably noticing a common cause here as to why your pictures aren’t coming out the way you want them to.  Yes, you need to be incredibly close to your subject when taking photographs underwater.  Be very careful, while this may be okay when taking pictures of reefs, but sharks may be another matter altogether.

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