Marine & Underwater Photographers
What camera gear do you need for marine and underwater photography?
Shooting in or under the water definitely requires some special equipment. To find out what other marine photographers recommend, let’s take a peek inside their camera bags and learn about their gear.
There are a lot of incredible things that can be done with waterproof camera gear.
Some photographers have made a profession out of diving into the otherworldly depths of the ocean and documenting the alien beauty of the creatures they find there.
Some photograph endangered species – fish, turtles and sharks – or vibrant coral reefs.
Yet others capture the savage beauty of the waves, or the daring escapades of the people who surf them.
Underwater photography can also be used for fine art or editorial. Think of fashion shoots where the model is suspended in the water’s grasp, an ethereal vision of floating fabric and tangled tresses.
If any of the above appeals to you, we hardly blame you. Shooting in water or fully submerged in it takes courage – physical and creative – and the rewards for succeeding are great as a result.
How you kit out your camera bag will depend a little on the type of marine and underwater photography you choose to do.
Naturally you’re going to need a camera – and an underwater housing.
Because waterproof camera casings are somewhat bulky, you’ll find that some marine photographers have switched from DSLR to mirrorless to lighten up their load.
For water sports or deep diving, some of our featured photographers add an action camera like a GoPro into their kits as well.
Lenses also vary depending on the photographer and purpose.
Some suffice with a versatile zoom lens for capturing sports and lifestyle in the water. The kits of deep-sea shooters normally include macro lenses and wide angle or fisheye lenses.
Underwater strobes are another common bit of gear. One of the challenges of shooting underwater is the shortage of light. If you lower your shutter speed too much to let in more light, you’ll end up with blur. That’s where a powerful strobe comes in to save the day and light the scene.
And then there’s the photographer’s own diving gear.
Any marine and underwater photographer who shoots in the ocean will have a wetsuit at a bare minimum.
Flippers and snorkelling gear? Probably. Full scuba suit with mask, tank and all the rest of it? There’s a good chance they have that too.
Shooting underwater requires unique skills on the photographer’s behalf. As well as knowing how to swim and/or scuba dive, there’s learning how to adapt your photography to underwater conditions.
Even shooting underwater in a swimming pool with a model can send you on quite a steep learning curve. Health and safety need to be a constant consideration, and nailing your camera settings and lighting can take practice.
While gear is just one part of the puzzle, investing in the right equipment in the first place can save a lot of costly trial and error.
From there – it’s all about getting out and learning how to use it!
Check out the camera bags of our featured photographers to see what gear they have and how they use it to create breathtaking marine and underwater photography.