a turtle swimming in the ocean.

10 Famous Underwater Photographers to Follow in 2023

Get inspired by this curated list of the top underwater photographers from around the world. Delve deep into their mesmerising aquatic imagery.

You’re about to discover the 10 most famous underwater photographers of all time.

I’ll introduce you to amazing underwater photographers from around the world that you’ve probably never even heard of!

From National Geographic to documenters of marine life, all the photographers listed here have what it takes to create breathtaking images.

So let’s take a closer look at their work.

10 Famous Underwater Photographers On Instagram

Jennifer Hayes


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Hayes is a National Geographic underwater photographer. She has a marine ecology and a zoology degree. Her work focuses on shark finning and other activities that endanger marine life.

She is a trustee of the Shark Research Institute. She has also won many awards for her underwater images and contributions to the natural world.

Her underwater images go hand in hand with her scientific photography background. She often puts hard truths in sight but always shares hope.

David Doubilet


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Together with Jennifer Hayes at the top of the best underwater photographers, there’s her husband David Doubilet. He’s published featured articles in National Geographic magazine since 1971.

Doubilet got inspired by marine life when he was a teenage dive instructor in the Bahamas. He aims to take breathtaking photos to raise awareness of conservation issues.

He dives with tons of specialized equipment as he’s very technical in his photography. He was one of the pioneers in split field photography – AKA over/under images.

Brian Skerry


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Brian Skerry is a NatGeo photographer and Nikon USA Ambassador. He is a wildlife photojournalist and has won eleven times the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award – amongst many others.

Skerry has exhibited his work worldwide. He’s also published 12 books and produced several films about underwater environments.

He also produced a multi-platform project called Secrets of Whales. It aired on the National Geographic channel and Disney+.

The project won the 2021 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fictional Series. It was also published as a book and featured in the magazine.

Becky Kagan Schott

Becky Kagan Schott is a five-time Emmy award-winning cinematographer. She’s the co-founder of Liquid Productions Inc.

This company specializes in documenting the underwater world, expedition diving, and photogrammetry of shipwrecks.

From all the dive sites she’s documented, she prefers North America’s Great Lakes. Kagan took her first open water course at age 12 and it became her lifelong interest.

More female photographers you should know

Thomas Peschak


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Thomas Peschak is one of the most influential nature photographers of our time. Part of this merit is due to the work he does through his foundation Manta Trust.

Manta Trusts is dedicated to saving the natural habitat of manta and devil rays through research, education, and collaboration.

Peschak is a marine biologist, an underwater photographer, and most of all, a marine conservationist. He’s published 8 books and has been featured in 14 articles for National Geographic.

He’s also won multiple awards and exhibited on three continents.

Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

Cristina Goettsch is a Mexican award-winning underwater photographer. She’s dedicated her work to raising awareness of marine conservation. In fact, she’s a pioneer in the concept of conservation photography.

She was originally trained as a marine biologist in Mexico. Then, she moved to Washington and got her Photography Associate degree at the Corcoran College of the Arts.

On top of being a nature photographer, she’s also the editor of the Cemex Conservation Book Series. This project curates the images of the best underwater photographers to illustrate how to protect the ocean and all its inhabitants.

Her photographs also capture the importance of the relationship between indigenous people and biodiversity.

Tom St George


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Tom St George is a British underwater photographer based in Tulum, Mexico. He loves to capture the caves and caverns of the Yucatan Peninsula and all the marine species he can find there.

He enjoys capturing images and close-up shots of whale sharks, American crocodiles, and other marine life. He teaches underwater photography and works as an assignment photographer for commercial projects.

Francois Baelen

Francois Baelen is a well-known French photographer and doctor based in Reunion Island. Underwater photography is his passion but not his main profession. He’s a medical practitioner specialising in Hyperbaric medicine.

Despite that, his underwater photos document marine life and are so beautiful that have granted him many international rewards.

Sina Ritter

Ritter defines herself as an underwater artist and ocean advocate. She coined this term because her work is all about bringing the beauty of the ocean to the people above the surface.

The idea behind it is that she can raise awareness about how the ocean is needed to sustain all life on Earth.

She’s also an ethical photographer, meaning that she only photographs animals in the wild – never baited or stressed.

Thanks to her work, she’s able to spend most of her life in the ocean – over 300 days per year. This is what she always dream of and underwater photography made her dream come true.

Jillian Morris-Brake

Jillian Morris-Brake is a marine biologist and shark conservationist. In fact, she’s the founder and president of Sharks 4 Kids. This is a non-profit organization that aims to protect sharks and the oceans through education and adventure.

She’s also an amazing underwater photographer. Her photos help spread the word about her conservation work. You can find her on Instagram as @biminisharkgirl.

How Can I Become a Famous Underwater Photographer?

Becoming a famous underwater photographer requires a combination of technical skills, creativity, networking, and a lot of patience and persistence.

Here are some steps to help you on your journey:

  1. Learn to Dive: Before you can become an underwater photographer, you need to be comfortable in the water. Take some diving lessons and become a certified diver. Spend as much time underwater as you can to get used to the environment.
  2. Master Photography: Before diving in and trying to do underwater shots, you must learn how to use your camera. Learn the basics of photography including composition, lighting, and editing. Practice on land how to take stunning images.
  3. Invest in Equipment: You’ll need a good underwater camera and housing to protect it. You’ll also need lights for underwater shooting, as natural light can be limited, especially at greater depths. It’s also important to get the right lenses. Underwater photographers usually prefer a good wide-angle lens. However, the underwater world is very vast – the lens you need depends on the type of pictures you want to take.
  4. Take Underwater Photography Classes: There are specific techniques and challenges associated with underwater photography. Taking a class can help you learn these techniques and give you a chance to practice with an instructor’s guidance. Once you start getting the desired effect on your underwater photos, you’re ready to go on your own.
  5. Practice, Practice, Practice: The more you shoot, the better you’ll get. Take your camera with you every time you dive and experiment with different techniques and subjects. Underwater photography covers a wide range of categories, try them all to find which one suits you.
  6. Find Your Niche: What do you want to photograph? Coral reefs, marine wildlife, underwater landscapes, or maybe shipwrecks? Find a focus for your work and study it. As you can see from this list of photographers, many of them have previous education that helped them understand the nature of their subject. These degrees aren’t mandatory to do underwater photography. However, the more you know about the species or environment you want – the better photographs you can create.
  7. Build a Portfolio: Select your best work and put it together in a professional-looking portfolio. This can be a physical book or a website. This allows you to find work as a contributing photographer or find more gigs.
  8. Network: Join photography and diving clubs, and attend events and workshops. Find a way to connect with other photographers and professionals in the field. Networking can lead to opportunities and collaborations.
  9. Share Your Work: Use social media to share your photos and gain followers. You can also submit your work to magazines, websites, and photo contests. Not only does this get your work known, but it’s also a good way to sell your images as stock photos or as fine art prints.
  10. Never Stop Learning: Technology and techniques are always evolving, especially in the field of underwater photography. Keep up with the latest trends and continue to refine your skills.

Here are some general tips for becoming a professional photographer.

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Shotkit Writer & Camera Gear Reviewer

Ana Mireles is a Mexican researcher that specializes in photography and communications for the arts and culture sector.

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