With spring break coming up, some of you might be heading somewhere warm to enjoy the beach and ocean, and excited to photograph underwater. So I thought I'd share a few quick tips with you - let's dive right in!

 

Safety First

I cannot stress this enough. Know your (and your family's) swimming abilities. The power of the ocean is no joke, observe conditions and heed warning signs about rip currents, large surf, and other dangers. Rogue waves do happen. Don't turn your back to the ocean, and stay close to shore. Here in Hawaii we have the saying, "if in doubt, don't go out".

This image of my daughter is actually only a few feet form the shoreline, in waist deep water (my husband is holding her and hiding behind the wave). You don't necessarily have to go far out to get fun shots!

This image of my daughter is actually only a few feet form the shoreline, in waist deep water (my husband is holding her and hiding behind the wave). You don't necessarily have to go far out to get fun shots!

 

Try an over/under

Over/under, or split images, make for great story telling and are really fun! Think about the story you're telling, where you want the focus, and adjust your focal point and aperture accordingly.

Showing a hint of loving arms wrapped around a child adds connection and emotion to an image.

Showing a hint of loving arms wrapped around a child adds connection and emotion to an image.

 

Let go of control

So much is out of your control when shooting in the water, period. Especially in the ocean. The light, water clarity, stirred up sand, wind, waves, you name it. I try to not get stuck on preconceived ideas - keeping an open mind about what's possible allows me to be creative, instead of feeling limited by conditions I can't change.

Water clarity was pretty murky here - so I got really close to minimize the amount of water between my little client and the lens.

Water clarity was pretty murky here - so I got really close to minimize the amount of water between my little client and the lens.

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Even worse water clarity with this session, so our plans to snorkel with turtles turned into boogie boarding and chicken fights - don't limit yourself to shooting only below the surface.

Even worse water clarity with this session, so our plans to snorkel with turtles turned into boogie boarding and chicken fights - don't limit yourself to shooting only below the surface.

 

Clean your gear

Always rinse your gear with plenty of fresh water after shooting in the ocean, whether you have a waterproof camera, big housing or an iphone case. Salt is corrosive and will eat its way through your gear, and sand grains lodged in o-rings can break the seal.

 

Get in the frame

Whether it's a special occasion or your everyday, don't forget to be present in your water photos! Hand the camera off to a family member, or take an underwater selfie. You will enjoy the memories and your kids will appreciate seeing you were there too.

This is a selfie I took at 6 months pregnant. I am so greatful to have this memory swimming in the ocean while pregnant.

This is a selfie I took at 6 months pregnant. I am so greatful to have this memory swimming in the ocean while pregnant.

 

And most importantly, have fun and don't forget to share your ocean photos with us!

- Barb