Underwater Photography Tips for your trip to the Great Barrier Reef

You are on the trip of a lifetime. You are going to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s true natural wonders, the #1 natural tourist attraction in Australia. This may well be the only chance you will ever see the Great Barrier Reef, so you want to take underwater photos. Not just average quality photos, but awesome, colourful, high resolution digital photos that will impress your colleagues, friends and family when you get back to the real world….You also want more than great photos, you want to take amazing HD videos underwater as well….you want to catch every moment of this wonderful experience….read on to find out how!

Camera Options

For snorkelling or scuba diving, a multitude of underwater camera options are available for amateurs, enthusiasts or professionals. Prices for cameras range from around twenty dollars for very basic disposable film cameras, right up to several thousand dollars or even more for professional quality DSLR cameras with housing and lighting.

Underwater Film Cameras: The most basic type of camera. These have fixed focus and the user manually winds on the film for each photo. Limited to only 27 photos, results are generally average at best, and it is also important for you to consider the cost and effort required getting 35mm film processed.

Digital Cameras: Delivering greatly superior results to film cameras with point and shoot ease. Digital cameras also offer video mode, auto focus, zoom and the ability to see your photos and videos instantly. A huge range of waterproof/shockproof cameras are now available. If you’re on a budget, you can even waterproof your existing digital camera or smartphone easily and safely for very reasonable prices.

How to Take Amazing Underwater Photos & Videos

For snorkelling or scuba diving, you don’t need to be a professional to take great underwater photos. Here are some basic tips for beginners:

  • Get close! Getting as close as you can to your subject will improve sharpness, contrast and colour, which are all reduced by water.
  • Use your cameras flash only if you can get within 1 metre (3 feet).
  • Try to separate your subject from its background, shooting from a lower angle helps with this.
  • As much as possible, shoot with the sun behind you or over your shoulder. This improves the clarity if the water in front of you.
  • If you are photographing fish, focus on the eyes and try to fill the frame with your subject.
  • Avoid zooming where possible as this increases the chances of blurriness from ‘camera shake’.
  • If you are using digital, set your camera white balance to ‘underwater’ (if available) or ‘shade’. For advanced users try setting a ‘manual’ white balance when you are in thew water.
  • Keep shooting! The more photos you take of your subject, the better the chances are of acoring a great shot. Change the composition for better variety.

These guys all took our advice, got great photos and had a fantastic time when they hired one of our underwater cameras:

Underwater Camera Hire, Cairns

Underwater Camera Hire, Cairns

Underwater Camera Hire, Cairns

With thanks to Nickie Siwinski, Chris Banner and Nathalie Raben for providing us with these great images

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