“Snorkeling photography is simple!” You might believe this when scrolling through flawless ocean pictures on social media. However, your underwater photos always come out bluish and hazy. Nothing to worry about; this is how we all began to capture the magnificence of the sea. But to get crisp, clear photographs in the ocean, you don’t have to be a skilled photographer or own the most costly gear. In this article, we’ll teach and show you how! Read here our beginner’s snorkeling guide.
Check here our recommendations for best action cameras for snorkeling
9 Snorkeling Photography Tips
1. Pick the right camera.
When it comes to taking photos when snorkeling, having a nice, user-friendly camera is half the battle won. Throw out your old, bulky electronics that take hours to learn how to use and have more buttons than stars in the sky. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, today’s smart gadgets have a number of tools and preset modes that can help you take good pictures.
You can select a digital camera with an underwater housing setup or a small waterproof camera based on your needs and budget. Purchasing a GoPro action camera to document your on-land and offshore experiences is also a good option. Alternatively, if you use the suitable casing, you may also use your smartphone!
The ideal choice for you will depend on your demands and budget, so let’s look at each option, in turn, to see what to anticipate if you buy an underwater compact, a camera with additional housing, a travel-friendly GoPro, or decide to use your smartphone.
- Compact waterproof camera
Because of their small size and straightforward operation, waterproof cameras without using a case are the most popular choice for snorkeling. The top waterproof cameras for snorkeling all have underwater modes to make taking pictures while snorkeling as simple as one-two-three. Such models are more than adequate for the typical amateur snorkeler.
- Camera with waterproof housing
If you choose to get a professional digital camera with underwater housing, you will need to invest more money in the gear and carry more baggage. However, there are a ton of benefits that come along with these drawbacks. In comparison to standard waterproof variants, an underwater casing may travel deeper. Consequently, you can use it for diving in addition to snorkeling. These set-ups provide you more room to enhance your photography by using additional accessories like additional lenses or strobes.
- GoPro action camera
Because of its portability and tiny size, using an action camera like a GoPro is a popular alternative when traveling. Action cameras are ideal if you enjoy making videos, but you’ll need the practice to take good pictures with them. Get the most recent GoPro for snorkeling if you want to capture videos in crisp 4K. Without additional housing, they are all waterproof up to a specific depth. There are various low-cost GoPro alternatives available if you think they’re too expensive but still want to get high-quality video.
Action cameras are so tiny that holding one in the water is nearly challenging. Mounting it on a waterproof selfie stick is, therefore, a must. By doing things this way, you can stay focused and also get closer to your subject. Another plus is that there are many inexpensive underwater attachments for GoPro and GoPro-like action cameras available, such as red filters, Dome ports, and others, that will enable you to get the most fantastic shots.
Although the finest photos are indeed shot with high-end cameras, considering how much smartphone photography has advanced in recent years, you might also be able to take your iPhone or other smartphones underwater and snap some fantastic pictures.
You should not take the fact that some models are labeled as waterproof literally because salt water is an exception. Get a suitable underwater case for your smartphone if you want to use it while snorkeling in the sea.
2. Learn to use your camera
Even with the best equipment, you won’t be able to capture excellent images if you don’t know how to use your camera’s settings. The most recent waterproof compacts are easy to use and offer at least one underwater mode (or underwater white balance option) that automatically adjusts the settings to give vivid shots. To save time in the water figuring out how to operate your camera, become comfortable with the presets and explore the options until switching between modes is a reflex.
3. Shoot in clear water
One of the most significant elements influencing snorkeling photography is the continually shifting visibility of natural seas—less debris in the water results in greater water clarity.
The water becomes murky when too many particles are present, producing fuzzy and speckled images with tiny white dots. Numerous factors, both artificial—such as pollution—and natural—such as coral spawning, currents, or tides—can impact the water’s clarity. Nature is uncontrollable, but if you become knowledgeable about the currents and tides, you can benefit from picking the ideal time for your underwater photography sessions.
4. Learn to use the natural light
Since water is denser than air, it absorbs light differently. Red wavelengths are the shortest, while blue wavelengths are the longest in water. This explains why photographs taken underwater lose their color.
Underwater photographers use strobes to produce vivid photos, but they are costly and difficult to transport. But because you remain close to the surface when taking photos while snorkeling, you are in a great position to get beautiful pictures with ambient light. To get bright, sharp photographs, you only need to learn how to position both your camera and yourself.
If you want to take pictures outside on a sunny day, avoid pointing the camera directly at the sun unless you intend to capture sun rays. Opt for a position where the sun is at your back, naturally illuminating the scene you want to photograph.
5. Discover the perfect angle
Finding the appropriate angle is one of the easiest yet crucial snorkeling photography tips. The majority of snorkelers only take pictures when floating on the surface. However, because coral reefs and marine life are both 3D structures, snapping shots by pointing your camera down from the surface won’t produce the images you’re looking for. It would be best if you descended in order to take better pictures.
6. Get near to your subject
The high density of water also reduces contrast, sharpness, and color. The amount of color in the image will decrease the more away your lens is from the subject. In light of the fact that the distance will not change, utilizing zoom is not a good idea.
Instead, you must approach your topic as closely as possible without disturbing marine life, destroying the coral, or endangering yourself. You must master this crucial snorkeling photography technique if you want to improve your pictures.
7. Keep the camera steady.
You may already be aware of how important it is to hold your camera as steadily as you can in order to capture photographs that are sharp and clear. At the same time, snorkeling presents a unique set of difficulties. Divers are less likely to experience this issue because they can regulate buoyancy by inflating and deflating their diving jackets. Divers can also utilize weights to be more steady, but snorkelers cannot. Furthermore, it is considerably harder to hold a camera steady during snorkeling because there is more movement in the higher levels of the ocean.
However, we can solve this issue with some helpful snorkeling photography advice! Closely hold the camera to your body. Learn to sense the ocean and shoot when there is little to no movement in the water and no impending large wave. To maintain balance, use your flippers. In addition to them, an underwater camera tray contributes to increased stability.
8. Use a post-processing tool.
You are mistaken if you believe that the professional underwater photographs you see online or in magazines are flawless. Underwater photography nearly often requires post-processing; therefore, having a good camera and knowing how to operate it are prerequisites.
Many applications, ranging from the most basic to the most advanced, are available. To begin editing your photographs, install one on your computer (several are also accessible as smartphone applications). Traditional programs like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom are the most excellent options to choose from. When it comes to image editing, they provide countless alternatives. Naturally, you don’t need to be familiar with every function to improve the images. Simple, easy tweaks can also work wonders.
9. Take more pictures
The last piece of tips is to take lots of pictures. Most snorkeling photos aren’t very excellent, but as you get more experience, your chances of success increase significantly. Take a lot of photos nonetheless because, despite your experience, the failure rate is still significant. During a single snorkel, it’s not uncommon for a snorkeler to snap between 100 and 300 photos. After that, please choose the best ones right away, enhance them, and never display the others. All outstanding photographers know this little-known fact. By doing this, you will learn faster and catch more keepers.