Composing a Great, Eye-catching Photo







It’s Sunday morning, I’m very excited at getting ready to head to welcome Simon and Jo to help them master their Canon S120 and a new strobe today, and before I head off, I thought I’d share another tip to hopefully help you with your underwater photography.

The most difficult thing for me when I got started was how to create a photograph that stands out from the crowds.  Particularly when you are underwater, there are schooling fish, huge expanses of corals with critters hiding in between and, of course, not forgetting other divers!

I’m going to be writing much more on this but for today, the easiest way to compose one great photograph is to simply stay still …. By staying still, you get to really see the life on the reef, creatures intermingling with each other, moray eels being cleaned by shrimps for example, and action when it all happens.  And underwater, that can be incredibly quickly.

It’s easy when we get started as divers to want to see as much of our new underwater world as much as possible.  It’s completely breathtaking to be able to hover motionless, watching fish swim past you, or to be greeted by huge curious groupers who simply love looking at their reflection in your camera’s housing.

But sometimes by staying still, magic happens and you are there to capture the moment.  Not just that, but you can capture different angles of the same scene.  The beauty of compact cameras is that you can change lenses underwater, meaning you can be focusing on close-up subjects one minute and then huge packs of schooling fish the next.  Just one word of warning, just be very, very careful when changing lenses and make sure that you have a cord wrapped around your wide-angle lens to make sure that it doesn’t drop and end up as another diver’s pre-Christmas gift.  The amount of lenses and cameras that guides have found on my travels is quite astonishing …

So, back to composition, the main key is to think of your background.  Is it cluttered?  Can you use the lovely blue ocean behind your background to make it really stand out instead?  If you are taking close-up pictures of subjects, are you level with the subject?  Can you look up to maybe capture something different in your image?  Can you increase your shutter speed to make the background disappear?









For example, in these two photos above, I was pretty excited about seeing my first leaf fish and couldn’t help but snap away. However, but taking my time, seeing if there was another one close by, changing position (making sure that the surrounding corals, creatures and buddy were all safe from my fins!) I got a much better picture.  I simply use the macro button on my compact camera, set the camera to Forced Flash, chose a low ISO and, voila, this was the finished result.

There’ll be lots more different tips & tricks that I’m going to be sharing with you and in the meantime, if  you’ve got any questions, just let me know.

Have a lovely day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s