15 February 2005

Tips for Using a Point and Shoot Underwater Camera

Operating a point and shoot underwater camera is pretty simple, but taking quality pictures is a little harder, especially if your subject is a person. To avoid disappointing pictures, try some of the following tips.

Underwater Lighting
Lighting is the single most important factor in taking decent pictures. Water filters out the sunlight and the deeper you go, the less color you see. Without light, your pictures will end up blue. The flash on your camera helps put back some of the lost colors. However, there is no substitute for the sun. Plan to take your underwater pictures on a sunny day. If it?s a partly cloudy day, wait until the sun comes out from behind a cloud to snap your picture. If the sky is overcast, you won?t have enough natural light for quality pictures.

Lens Focusing
Distance is the key factor in taking well-focused pictures. Because they have fixed lenses, most point and shoot cameras have the best focus at about three to five feet. If you are closer or farther away from your subject than the recommended distance, the picture will be out of focus. Read your camera?s specification papers to find out what distance is recommended for your camera.

Dive Preparation
Before entering the water, discuss with your subject how and where you want him/her to pose for the pictures. If you just want to take snapshots of just about anything, that?s fine. But if you are planning something artistic, coordinating ahead of time will make the dive go smoothly. Also discuss hand signals before entering the water.

Subject Shooting
To get the subject to appear striking in the photograph, position yourself a little lower and shoot upwards. This puts your subject in a prominent position against a lighter background of blue water. You?ll get eye-catching results. Also use your camera in a horizontal or vertical position. You?ll get two perspectives: short and wide or tall and narrow. And remember, you don?t want bubbles in front of your subject?s face, so time yourself to snap the picture before he/she exhales.

Bring plenty of film. You?ll find that taking underwater photographs is fun and addicting.


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