Tips for Using Aperture Priority Mode for Underwater Photography

Aperture priority mode is where you set the aperture setting, and the camera sets the appropriate shutter speed based off of the conditions you are shooting in. The guideline below will help you to set the appropriate aperture priority mode for underwater photography based on different conditions.


An f-stop is the size of an aperture. Aperture is an opening in your lens that can be made smaller or larger. For underwater photography, you should use an f-stop of 8. By using F8, you will block out the desired ambient light and your photos will have better color, contrast and sharpness.

Depth of Field

A smaller aperture, such as F22, will result in a larger depth of field. If you close the aperture by one f-stop, for example going from F11 to F16, you will increase your depth of field by approximately 40%. The depth of field is the area of a photograph that is in focus.


If you are not shooting a subject that requires a large depth of field, you should use the smallest aperture possible. In underwater photography, aperture priority mode controls the bokeh, or blur, of the background. If you use an f-stop of 2.8, the background will be heavily blurred. A very small aperture will keep most backgrounds in perfect focus.

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