In the second part of our underwater photography series, we are going to highlight etiquette. To be a great underwater photographer we must remember to first be a great diver. This means having great buoyancy skills, but also following some unspoken, yet universally accepted photography etiquette. Here’s the lowdown of what to know before taking a camera on a dive with a group.
How Not to Bomb Your Underwater Photography
1. Patience is Virtue: We all get so excited we can hardly contain our bubbles when our guide finds an awesome creature! However, it is important to remember to remain calm and wait for your turn. Being patient will not only improve your chances of getting an epic shot by not scaring the creature, but it will also allow your fellow divers to have an opportunity to see and get photos of their own. Take a few frames of the critter and then let others have their turn. You can always come back to the critter to get more photos after everyone in the group has had a chance.
2. No Shot is Worth a Risk: Know when to back off or get out. If the surge is too strong for you to get into position without bumping and damaging the environment or yourself don’t risk it. If you can’t safely enter the lava tube or your computer is screaming at you, please just call it a wash.
3. Respect the Creature: In our pursuit of the perfect capture, we must, above all else, make sure that we do not jeopardize the comfort of the animal we’re trying to photograph. Give the animal plenty of space. Don’t bombard it with flashes and don’t move, poke, or chase it. Let the animal be allowed to move freely, recover from the shock of the flash, and not feel disturbed by your presence.
4. Be Globally Aware: This means to pay attention to your dive guide, your buoyancy, fins, dive buddy/fellow divers, air, and computer. It is easy to become enthralled with a creature and the shot that you find yourself surprised that your group is far away or your air is dangerously low. It is important to remain globally aware of all aspects of diving while focusing on your shot.
Taking underwater photographs is incredibly challenging, but that is what can make it so rewarding. Diving with a group means a higher level of responsibility as you must be more patient, remember to wait for your turn and keep up with your group. Of course, you can always opt to hire a private guide if you wish to have better photography opportunities! You can learn more about underwater photography by taking the Specialty Course!