Top 10 Tips Underwater Photography Terms For Beginners
Top 10 Underwater photography Terms For Beginners
Underwater Photography Beginners Tutorial

Underwater Photography For Beginners Tutorial 

Step No1 - The Underwater Photographer Creed

Step No1 in my Underwater Photography For Beginners Tutorial is learn and swear to the underwater photographer creed: Ok, this might be a quote from the movie full metal jacket, tweaked a bit to suit my Underwater Photography For Beginners Tutorial but I stand by it!
This is my camera. There are many like it but this one is mine. My camera is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my camera is useless. Without my camera I am useless. I must fire my camera true. I must shoot straighter than my buddy, who is trying to out shoot me. I must click my shot before he kicks up sand. I will.

Step No2 Familiarize Yourself

To start with familiarize yourself with your camera and housing on land. learn the menu system and play around with the camera inside the housing so you get a 'feel' for what you are using. Click photographers inside and outside in different light conditions and adjust your camera as you go.  To begin with, you may want to leave your camera in automatic mode, but as you gain confidence in your photographic ability, switch to its manual or program mode.

Step No3: Know Your Equipment.

One of the best secret tips is the simplest!  To be so familiar with how your camera works that you are not distracted trying to figure it out underwater. The more you prepare on land before the dive the faster your actions will be underwater.

Make sure you can quickly find the keys that control:

Power on/off,
Shutter button (clicker that takes the picture),
Focus (macro/normal), Flash On/Off and Mode.

Read your camera user manual, then read it again! usually it will have a quick start section which is the best place to start and as you explore your camera from these basics and start asking your self things like.. oh, whats that symbol mean or whats this mode do.. its all in there to discover.
Taking an underwater photography course, class or workshop since this will help you to progress much faster and help you develop and improve your underwater photography skill much fast whilst also helping you to avoid mistakes and bad habits.

Step No4, How To Take Pictures

Start with set your camera mode to Auto.
Hold the camera so not to obstruct the lens or flash and you can see the view finder clearly.
Focus for a sharp image. learn your shutter buttons sensitivity. as you must slowly and softly depress it half way to focus the camera.
Fully depress the shutter and Click! Be sure to check your focus box indicates a focused shot first before clicking! (usually a green box means in focus where as a red box means out of focus)

Click, Click and click again and again. The more photographs you take, the more you will learn about photography. In this era of digital cameras, learning and experimentation has never being easier since you can shoot over and over again without any cost of film!

Once your happy with clicking a picture on your camera, pop it in the housing and click some more! Getting more comfortable as you go, try to take pictures in both portrait and landscape orientation moving the camera from a horizontal position to a vertical position, also trying different angles from level, to below or above or even the side or in front. Get creative and in time you'll learn which worked well and which you prefer to shoot from. You style will begin to develop!

Step No5: Expand; Switch to Manual or Program Mode.

Manual and Program Modes Vs Auto Mode will allow you to experiment and discover new styles

Automatic mode does exactly what it says on the tin! Its automatically control your setting for you, from white balance, flash to some degree, exposure, even your focus and where its position. This is a best place to begin but that said once your a little more familiar with your camera and set up don't be afraid to get experimental and give the Manual and Program Modes a play with!
Program mode is a great step toward full manual as it sets up the aperture and Shutter speed for you!

These modes are are particularly useful as they ultimately give you more control, especially in the ability to manually white balance, control your flash entirely and chose an exposure you see fit. This in simply terms means you have full control of the colour in your clicks as well as how light or dark your photographs turn out not to forget a mention that you also can set exactly where the camera will focus.

Step 6: Prepare Your Camera and Housing for a dive

Insert memory card and fresh battery and set up your camera mode as desired.
Prepare the underwater housing.
Install the camera into the housing and close.

Set up your shooting mode for your camera as you previously did for your practices. When you inspect the housing, check for correct function so that all buttons move smoothly and easily. Pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION to your o-ring(s) inspecting them for dirt, hair, sand and clean as required. (I personally them clean them every time I open the housing). Finally insert your camera and ensure its a snug, correct, level fit and then close/lock the door to seal it.

Step 7: Get in the water and try our your new found techniques.

Focus On 

Entering and exiting the water safely with your camera system
taking underwater photographs by:
Getting close to your subject, as close a possible.
Shooting at an upwards angle for better compositions.
holding the camera properly.
staying shallow for the best light conditions.
planning how you'll stay with your buddy and monitor your air supply's (If scuba diving)
How light and water affect colors
Consider basic composition
take your pictures in an environmentally friendly manner
Having fun!

Good Start!

You have already made a good start in underwater photography by researching and learning tips and techniques in articles such as this. Now brush up on some Underwater Photography Terms and perhaps check out about Getting into Macro Underwater photography

Good Luck and Happy Clicking!

Andrew Jennings
Andrew Jennings
You host and creator of underwater clicks.