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A lot of people diving with a camera of any size get out of the water and are totally stressed and complain about the hassle they had coping with various challenges while diving. A few things change as soon as you are not dedicating all your attention to diving as the only activity anymore. Taking a camera on a dive requires some additional skills besides what you already learned during the "regular" dives. What stays the same are our fundamental rules of diving: Respect the creatures you want to take photos/videos of, don't force them to move and keep your distance.

A few things that change are:

Breathing, buoyancy, task loading in general, diving technique.

Breathing and photography
During the first dives doing underwater photography with your camera you will use a lot more air than you usually do. One reason for this increased gas consumption is the new situation you are in. You totally focus on your additional equipment, you are excited about your first steps in underwater photography and of course you want your friends back home to be impressed with the shots you took. Don't worry about that – once you get used to it the gas consumption will go down again. Increased gas consumption is also seen with divers who have not been diving in a while and get back with all their equipment again on the first dive – a lot of stuff to handle! To learn how to do it right we can be of assistance when it comes to tuning your underwater photography skills.

Buoyancy control and positioning for underwater photography
You may have found your ideal positioning in the water without a camera. Since (depending on the size of the camera) you will have to hold the device with both hands this will change your position and therefore buoyancy control. If you want steady shots you need a stable position in the water. Once it comes to shooting you need to be perfectly still in order to get this steady and nicely composed shot. Heavier gear gives you a bit of an advantage there because it is more forgiving when you have the correct position. If you haven't done a lot of underwater photography yet it is also important to know when your camera will actually make the shot. Therefore you have to know how much pressure you have to put on the button to "shoot". All these skills can be trained and tuned. We gladly assist in improving your underwater photography skills.

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Task loading during the dive with a camera
Having a new device with you underwater you want to do everything as good as you were trained to do which means you remember your instructors words on how to do underwater photography properly. This may result in you going to deep in order to get below the object you want to shoot. Try to avoid diving too deep by monitoring your depth closely. An additional challenge awaits you on drift dives where you have to deploy an SMB. Make sure you can focus purely on the task at hand and do it as you used to without the camera. It helps to secure your camera with a dog-clip on a piece of equipment so you have both your hands free. Most part of handling task loaded situations is a question of your mindset during diving and therefore a topic which goes into mental training.

Diving technique and underwater photography
If you took a specialty class for underwater photography in which you will remember what your instructor told you. You have to get in order for the flash or strobes to be effective. Furthermore you have to get under the subject you want to shoot for the colors to be best.

Your first steps in underwater photography – do it right
These points will help you to get an easier start when diving with an underwater housing for your camera:

  • Start in a spot you know (conditions, dive procedures)
  • Monitor your air consumption (!) depth and dive time more frequently than you usually would.
  • Keep your distance: Since see your object on a monitor it sometimes happens that you get too close and scare the animal away
  • When you have to risk damage to the reef to get the shot, take a different picture.
  • If you have issues with buoyancy or knowing your location while framing and shooting, take a different picture.
  • Your camera is not your buddy – make sure you don't get separated from the group.
  • Once task loading kicks in: Stop – breathe – think – act!
  • Enjoy the shots you made and find the best way how underwater photography works for you.