I Love Diving! Now How Can I Take Some Amazing Photos???
On many dive adventures, we meet many divers who really want to know how to get started in underwater photography. Of course the first question that usually comes up is what camera and housing are we currently shooting, and what setup would we recommend to someone who is just starting out.
How We Got Started
We both started out back in the days before go-pro’s were popular for scuba divers. So, we both opted for a point and shoot style camera. The Olympus SP-350 was super popular with divers because it was one of the few point and shoot cameras that could shoot RAW photos (more on that in another post) and also had a hot shoe, which allowed a direct connection from your camera to your strobe. These were benefits that you used to only be able to get in SLR’s, which was too pricey to start out doing.
Here’s a pic of Todd holding an Olympus SP-350, in an Ikelite housing with a strobe:
Ahhh, things were so much simpler back then! It’s not as small as a go pro, but look how small and compact everything is! SLR control in a small package is definitely an advantage of having a point and shoot setup.
For the time, the camera took great photos when compared to the other cameras in it day. Here’s one example from a trip to Maui:
Those were the good ol’ days. This little setup was a great primer that wasn’t too pricey and allowed me to practice the fundamentals of underwater photography. About a year later, i finally made the plunge and graduated to a bigger setup. (That will be a discussion for another time).
What Would We Recommend for New Underwater Photographers
- Make sure you have really good bouyancy first. (It’s 50 times harder when you are trying to take a photo)
- Make sure you actually enjoy diving first. You don’t want to spend money on gear you will never use.
- Don’t touch anything, dont take anything. (This should apply for all divers!)
- Make sure to have good basic understanding of how your camera works
Underwater Photographer’s Dive Etiquette
- Let non-photographers go ahead of you when looking at anything pointed out by a dive guide
- When diving with other photographers, take a few shots, then let other photographers go
- Inform your dive guide of your photo dive plan
Cameras To Consider
- SeaLife has a variety of point and shoot cameras and accessories
- Olympus was never a big competitor to the likes of Canon and Nikon when it came to the camera space overall, but they found their niche in underwater photography. Because of that, they have some great setups for their point and shoot and compact SLR’s that are worth looking into with lots of accessories available.
We don’t recommend starting here. Your camera is super expensive, and buying a housing and strobe for it is also super expensive. Plus, the chance of improperly sealing your housing grows exponentially, which makes for a bad combination. We will cover making the leap into using ‘professional’ setups in another post. But, if you have to do it, buy used. Check eBay for underwater housing for your camera. You can usually save a big chunk of change.
Listen To The Podcast On This Topic
If you haven’t heard our conversation on this topic, have a listen to episode 002. (You can skip to 26:46 if you want to get right to the segment):