Underwater Photography: Importance of Photo Lighting
Photo lighting is vital for any photograph. This is even more important when taking a photo underwater. Underwater photography is a unique situation and will require some careful thought. There will not be enough light available to take a photo properly. This means that you will need to consider one of two options.
Artificial lighting can be used to provide extra light to any underwater photograph. This means that you will be able to take high quality photographs underwater, which have plenty of light. Using a flash or a continuous light are your two options.
Importance of Lighting
If there isn't enough light when taking underwater photos, you will
find it difficult to take photographs. This will leave your photos
looking washed out and colors will be lost.
Artificial lighting can be used to brighten your photo. You must carefully use the light so that the photos look as natural as possible.
Continuous lighting is using a light which is always on. This has
the advantage of being able to see exactly what you are taking a photo
of. This uses a tungsten light, and you will normally need to use a
blue filter to create a natural looking effect which isn't too severe.
When using continuous lighting, the light source won't be very intense. This means that you need to slow down the shutter speed or use a higher aperture setting. If you are photographing animals which are sensitive to light, then you might find this impossible with continuous lighting. The light can also be very bulky and the batteries will drain quite quickly.
An underwater camera flash can also be used. These are much smaller and will use a pulse of light to provide enough light for you to take your photos. You won't be able to see the results of the flash before you take your photo. It will also take time for the flash to charge up before it can be used. This means that rapid shooting can be impossible.
One useful type of electronic flash for underwater photography is a
slave flash. This is used in addition to your main flash. The slave
flash is triggered when your main unit fires. A second source of light
can be very useful to create natural looking photographs. The slave
flash can be weighted down and put in the right position to create a
Using Natural Light
If you don't want to use artificial lighting, then you could consider using natural light. Taking the photos at midday will maximize the amount of light available.
When diving in different countries all around the world, it will be unique. Different filters can help to correct any color loss. When diving in tropical waters, for example, you can try using a red filter. In British water, the greenness of photos can be removed by using a magenta filter.
Try to get as close as possible to whatever it is you are photographing. Light scatters differently in water, and by getting closer, you will be able to collect as much of this light as possible.
If you are trying to take macro photographs underwater, then you will need to use artificial light. This is because natural light will not provide enough depth of field.