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Choosing a Good Photo Spot

Underwater Photographer

If you are an avid underwater photographer, choosing the right destination for your dive holiday or expedition can make a huge difference to your overall experience and enjoyment. It can also make a huge difference to the results on your camera.

The truth is that a great dive site isn't necessarily and great site for underwater photography. So what does make a destination ideal for photography and what criteria should you use to help you make a decision.

Read on to find out....

Choosing the right destination for your dive holiday or expedition can make a huge difference to your overall experience and enjoyment
The right environment
Shallow Dive Site The underwater environment plays a very big role in your photos. Just like nature photography on land, the location plays a big part in your chances of taking great pictures. Generally speaking, calm, shallow dive sites with good visibility make for the best spots for underwater photography.

Photographers seldom take the perfect shot at the first attempt. Calm conditions afford you the time you need time to compose your shot well, get the camera settings right and take a few shots of the same subject.

Staying shallow means, of course, that you can dive for longer, which means more time taking photos. It also means there is more light, which means more colour and more options in terms of the camera settings you can use and the styles of photograph you can take.

Good viz also means that you will have more light to play with and so more options. It also means less backscatter and clear, crisp images, saving you hours of editing time later.

Conditions of course change on a day to day basis, but picking a spot that has a reputation for consistently good conditions and some nice shallow reefs & subjects will give you a better chance of taking nice photos on every dive.

Subject matters Turtle
Pick a destination that has a good variety of subjects.

You only have a limited time on each dive to look for good photographic subjects and get some shots of them, so it makes sense to pick a destination that gives you lots of choice.

If an area is known for having excellent diversity and a wide variety of interesting subjects, then it is likely to be a good destination for underwater photographers.

It's also a good idea to check which season you are going in. Not only are sea conditions seasonal, but marine life is often also seasonal, especially for larger fish.

Maybe, for example, Manta Rays gather in large numbers at a certain time of year in a certain spot, but are seldom seen outside of this period. Doing a bit of research to make sure you visit somewhere at an interesting time in terms of marine life can also increase your chances of having some great subjects to photograph.

[But what makes a good photographic subject? Of course, in part, it will be down to your own preferences and what types of subjects you enjoy taking photos of. Some photographers love taking photos of big fish, others of macro subjects, other of wrecks and so on. But when it comes to marine life, a good photographic subject is most likely to be one that is interesting and gives you the chance to reel off lots of shots. A fish that appears for a fleeting moment and then disappears is not going to be a good subject, no matter how exciting the sighting is.

Dive centre facilities
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The facilities on offer for photographers is very important. Check if the dive centre has rinse tanks, charging points, somewhere to store and set-up your camera and housing, good space and facilities on the boat.

It's also worth speaking to a dive centre to get a feel for if they are photographer friendly or not. Small groups, private guides, or specialist photography dives make a big difference to the ability to spend time getting great shots.

Lastly, if you are serious about taking photos, you may well want to dive somewhere that allows you to make numerous dives per day and lets you return to the same site once you know it better to have another go. Areas with plenty of dive sites close-by, or with good shore diving are great for underwater photographers.

Find out about a selection of our top photography spots in our Photo hotspots feature.

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