7 Simple Tips for More Beautiful Underwater Photos

Bessere Unterwasserfotos

No matter whether GoPro, compact or DSLR camera, in the water as well as on land there are numerous ways to take better and more beautiful photos. In this blog post, I’m sharing my personal tips for better and more beautiful underwater photos that are easy to implement.

Tip 1: Step by Step

Get to know your camera on land first and in the dry. What possibilities do you have at all? How limited are you by the underwater housing? Which setting can’t you change once you’re in the water?

As soon as you are more familiar with your camera, it’s time to get in the water. Take your time in a pool or in a calm bay to try out different settings and play with the modes.

↠ It is understandable that you want to document all your scuba diving adventures from now on. I can’t help it either. However, I always plan some dives without my camera. Why? I often let the camera in my hand distract me or even dictate me and I experience diving differently.

schönere unterwasserfotos
Pyjama Shark, False Bay, South Africa

Tip 2: Light

At a depth of only a few metres, a large part of the natural light is already lost – depending on the water, this is 50% in the first 3 metres. Even if we can hardly see it with our bare eyes, the camera’s sensor immediately notices it.

If the subjects in the picture are to be crystal clear, external light sources are a must. This can be a simple underwater torch or even a  cheap video light. If you are looking for even better results, then an external flash is essential.

Murter Tauchen Kroatien

Tip 3: Red Filter

Action cameras such as GoPros or many small compact cameras need little helpers in the water to turn the sea of blue tones into bright ones again. Red tones, in particular, disappear after only a few metres of depth. With so-called red filters, you can give the picture back a lot of the original colours. The small plastic filters are available in different shades for different depths.

Tip 4: RAW File Format

Newer GoPro versions (from Hero 5 Black), many compact and all larger system and DSLR cameras have the possibility to take pictures in RAW format. Make use of it because it will become very handy for you during the image editing later.

Since I don’t only edit my pictures with Adobe Lightroom, I take all my pictures in RAW and additionally as JPG. So after a dive, I can quickly download the pictures onto my mobile phone. When I get back to my laptop, I then play with the RAW files and edit them in more depth.

Tip 5: Magical Macro

Whales, sharks, turtles – it is unbelievable when you meet these creatures in the water. My great passion for underwater photography, however, is macrophotography. My favourites: Nudibranchs! These colourful little animals are for me the unicorns of the seas. Besides, they barely move and as a diver, you’ll have time to play with the settings to create a nice underwater photo.

Schönere Unterwasserfotos
Nudibranch, False Bay, South Africa

Tip 6: Editing

Editing is an important step to create better and more beautiful underwater photos. Because even dark or blue-tinted pictures can be turned into stunning pictures with just the right tools.

Dive+ App

Shortly after the dive I usually download some of my photos via WIFI from the camera to my mobile phone. There I first edit them with the Dive+ App. This app helps to bring back missing colours back into the picture in just one step. Every now and then I edit the pictures in another app, mostly Dive+ is enough for me.

Bessere Unterwasserfotos SeepferdchenBessere Unterwasserfotos Seepferdchen
Unterwasserfoto SeeanemoneUnterwasserfoto Seeanemone
Bessere Unterwasserfotos vorher

Adobe Lightroom

On my laptop I use Adobe Lightroom for image editing. Thanks to the RAW files you can read a lot of image information in Lightroom.

The most important step is the white balance to restore the temperature of the picture. Then follow exposure, contrast, depth, clarity, …

Schönere Unterwasserfotos

Tip 7: Practice Makes Perfect

My first underwater photos were – to say the least – a catastrophe. I had expectations of my GoPro and Olympus that were simply not realistic. But with each dive, I knew better what I could ask from each camera and what would be working.

I’m always looking for tutorials and how-to’s on YouTube to expand my skills in the water.

Murter Tauchen Kroatien Schönere Unterwasserfotosps. pin me!

Underwater Photography How to underwater photos

Viktoria Urbanek Travel Blog Chronic Wanderlust

Grüß dich, I'm Viki!

At Chronic Wanderlust, I write about my two great passions: travelling and diving – and have been doing so since 2013.

I usually spend a solid majority of the year travelling to experience extraordinary underwater adventures, taking road trips through countries I don’t know (yet) or exploring my home country of Austria.

As a certified divemaster, passionate underwater & travel photographer, road trip enthusiast and individual traveller, I collect unique moments all over the world.

I don’t believe that severe cases of wanderlust – aka chronic wanderlust – can be cured, only treated. On this blog, I want to show you how this can best be realised.

Curious to get to know me better?