I breath out, and watch air bubbles gurgle towards the light that flickers from the surface, dappling my fingers in a golden hue. Seduced by pictures of luscious kelp forests and baffling sea creatures, more of us are tentatively dipping our toes into the realm of underwater photography. But how do you make your photographs stand out from the crowd?
Learning how to creatively light your photographs can be the most important (and difficult) lesson to learn when taking to the water with your camera. In so many ways, light completely structures the ocean environment that we experience. Unhelpfully, it always seems to be in low supply – largely due to how the ocean’s surface absorbs and reflects sunlight. As a photographer, this inevitably means that there is always more to think about before you slip beneath the surface.
Luckily, there are a few easy things that will keep you snap happy for the duration of your dive. For those looking to delve a little deeper into underwater photography – here are 8 lessons in light to get you started:
#1 Keep it Shallow
Although it may seem tempting to rapidly descend to the seabed in search of a good photograph, keeping your dive shallow can be the perfect way to hone your skills. Not only will you use less air (meaning a longer dive overall to perfect your photographs), but the light will be more vibrant, authentic and colourful.
As light passes through the surface of the water, colour spectrums begin to slowly fall off at around 5 meters – starting with reds, oranges and yellows. Eventually you are left with a beautiful but endless blue hue, and photographs that have a disappointing case of hypothermia. Staying in the shallows is the perfect way to avoid this, leaving you to capture stunning photographs with boundless natural light and colour.