How to Take Stunning Underwater Photos while Scuba Diving: Equipment and Techniques

How to Take Stunning Underwater Photos while Scuba Diving: Equipment and Techniques

As a professional scuba diver and underwater photographer, I have had the opportunity to capture some incredible moments and scenes beneath the surface. However, taking stunning underwater photos requires more than just a camera and diving gear. It requires knowledge of the equipment and techniques necessary to capture the perfect shot.


First and foremost, you will need a camera that is specifically designed for underwater photography. These cameras are waterproof and can withstand the pressure of being submerged in water. Additionally, you will need an underwater housing for your camera, which is a protective case that allows you to control the camera’s functions while keeping it safe from water damage.

Other essential equipment includes a strobe or flash to provide adequate lighting in the water, as well as a wide-angle lens to capture the expansive underwater landscapes.


Once you have the necessary equipment, it’s important to understand the techniques that will help you take stunning underwater photos. One of the most important techniques is to get close to your subject. Water can distort images, so getting as close as possible will help ensure that your subject is clear and in focus.

Another key technique is to pay attention to your surroundings and the natural light available. Underwater lighting can be challenging, but playing with angles and utilizing natural light can create beautiful and dramatic images.

By understanding the equipment and techniques necessary for underwater photography, you can capture stunning images that will leave a lasting impression.

underwater camera equipment

Choosing the Right Equipment

When it comes to taking stunning underwater photos while scuba diving, choosing the right equipment is crucial. Here are the essential pieces of equipment you will need:


The camera is the most important piece of equipment for taking underwater photos. You need a camera that is specifically designed for underwater use, as it will be able to withstand the pressure and the harsh conditions of the ocean. There are two types of underwater cameras: compact and DSLR. Compact cameras are smaller and easier to use, while DSLR cameras offer more advanced features and better image quality. Choose a camera that suits your needs and level of experience.


The housing is the protective case that surrounds your camera and keeps it safe from water damage. You need a housing that is specifically designed for your camera model. There are two types of housings: plastic and aluminum. Plastic housings are lighter and less expensive, while aluminum housings are more durable and offer better protection. Choose a housing that fits your budget and needs.


Lighting is crucial for taking great underwater photos. The deeper you go, the less natural light there is, so you need to bring your own light source. There are two types of underwater lighting: strobes and video lights. Strobes are more powerful and produce better quality light, but they are more expensive. Video lights are less powerful but are more versatile and can be used for both photos and videos. Choose a lighting setup that suits your needs and budget.


Filters are used to correct the color of your photos underwater. Water absorbs different colors of light at different depths, which can make your photos look blue or green. Filters can help to restore the natural colors of the underwater world. There are two types of filters: red and magenta. Red filters are used in shallow water, while magenta filters are used in deeper water. Choose a filter that is suitable for the depth of your dive.

Choosing the Right Equipment
Equipment Types Features
Camera Compact and DSLR Underwater use, image quality, and features
Housing Plastic and aluminum Protection, durability, and compatibility
Lighting Strobes and video lights Power, quality, and versatility
Filters Red and magenta Color correction and depth suitability

Choosing the right equipment is essential for taking stunning underwater photos while scuba diving. Consider your needs, level of experience, and budget when choosing your camera, housing, lighting, and filters. With the right equipment, you can capture the beauty of the underwater world and create unforgettable memories.

Mastering the Techniques

In order to take stunning underwater photos while scuba diving, it is important to master a few basic techniques. These techniques include getting close to your subject, using natural light, adjusting your camera settings, and controlling your buoyancy.

Get Close to Your Subject

One of the most important techniques for taking great underwater photos is to get as close to your subject as possible. This is because water absorbs light and color, making everything appear dull and blue at a distance. By getting close to your subject, you can capture the vibrant colors and details that might otherwise be lost in the water.

It is important to remember, however, that getting too close can scare off your subject or disturb the surrounding environment. Make sure to approach slowly and carefully, and avoid touching or damaging any marine life.

Use Natural Light

Another important technique for taking great underwater photos is to use natural light as much as possible. Artificial light sources can create harsh shadows and distort colors, while natural light creates a more natural and appealing look.

When using natural light, it is important to position yourself in a way that allows the sunlight to illuminate your subject. This may require you to move around or adjust your angle, but the results can be well worth the effort.

Adjust Your Camera Settings

Adjusting your camera settings is also crucial for taking great underwater photos. Depending on the conditions and your equipment, you may need to adjust your aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and other settings to get the best results.

It is important to experiment with different settings and to understand how they affect your photos. For example, a larger aperture can create a shallow depth of field, while a slower shutter speed can create motion blur.

Control Your Buoyancy

Finally, controlling your buoyancy is essential for taking great underwater photos. This means maintaining a steady position in the water and avoiding sudden movements that could disturb your subject or the surrounding environment.

It is important to practice and master your buoyancy skills before attempting to take photos underwater. This may involve taking a buoyancy control course or practicing in a controlled environment.

  • Tip: Consider investing in a buoyancy control device or weight system to help you maintain a steady position in the water.

By mastering these techniques and practicing regularly, you can take stunning underwater photos that capture the beauty and wonder of the underwater world.

scuba diving safety

Safety First: Tips for Safe Underwater Photography

Underwater photography can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety when scuba diving. Here are some key tips to keep in mind before you start snapping photos:

Get Proper Training

Before attempting any underwater photography, it’s essential to have proper scuba diving training. This will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to safely navigate the underwater environment and handle any potential hazards. Make sure you are certified to dive and have undergone training specific to underwater photography.

Check Your Gear

Prior to your dive, thoroughly inspect all of your equipment to ensure it is in good working condition. Check your camera housing, strobes, and any other accessories you plan to use. Make sure everything is properly assembled and secured before entering the water.

Dive with a Buddy

Never dive alone. Always have a dive buddy with you to help in case of an emergency. Make sure you establish clear communication signals beforehand so you can effectively communicate with each other underwater.

Stay Within Your Limits

It’s important to know your own limits and stay within them. Don’t push yourself too hard or attempt dives that are beyond your skill level. Always dive within the limits of your training and experience level, and never exceed the depth or time limits specified by your dive plan.

By following these safety tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable underwater photography experience.


Scuba diving and underwater photography can be an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience. However, it requires proper equipment, techniques, and practice. By following the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, you can capture stunning underwater photos that will leave a lasting impression on your viewers.

Invest in the Right Equipment

Choosing the right equipment is crucial for capturing high-quality underwater photos. A good quality underwater camera, housing, strobe, and lens are essential. Investing in these items can be expensive, but it’s worth the investment if you plan on taking underwater photography seriously.

Master the Techniques

Underwater photography requires mastering specific techniques such as buoyancy control, proper framing, and focus. It’s essential to practice these techniques before diving into deeper waters. By practicing, you’ll be able to capture better photos and avoid any accidents.

Respect the Marine Life

As a scuba diver and underwater photographer, it’s your responsibility to respect the marine life and their environment. Avoid touching or disturbing the marine life, and always follow the diving rules and regulations. Remember, we are just visitors in their world.

Overall, underwater photography can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. With the right equipment, techniques, and respect for the marine life, you can capture stunning photos that will leave a lasting impression on your viewers. So, grab your gear, practice your skills, and start exploring the beautiful underwater world!

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