Underwater Camera Settings

If you want to take more beautiful underwater photos, sooner or later you will have to move away from the AUTO mode and JPEG file format. In this Course you will learn how to choose camera settings and exposure parameters which work for underwater photography, so that you can take more control, or even full control of your camera. 

Read-on for an overview of the Course content, or watch the video below:

First things first, the Exposure Parameters lesson introduces the famous Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO, and explains how they impact not only the brightness, but also the look & feel of your images. With practical exercises and underwater scenarios, you will learn how to use the exposure triangle to create well-exposed or moody underwater photos.

Next, the Exposure Modes Lesson explains you how you can automatically, semi automatically or manually control these 3 exposure parameters in the camera. It includes explanations on camera metering systems, why they can struggle with underwater sceneries, and a discussion on how to go about choosing your 3 exposure parameters, if you do try the fully manual mode.

Then we have the Flash Controls lesson, where we cover the settings you have in your camera to control a flash, including TTL mode and manual flash power control. Using clear diagrams and examples, I will go through the differences between rear-curtain sync, front-curtain sync and how to choose between them underwater. Finally, we will touch on HSS (High Speed Synchronisation), Slow-Shutter and Red-Eye Reduction modes. Note this lesson focused on the camera itself: the settings available on an underwater flashgun (or strobe as we usually call them) are covered within the Underwater Lighting Course.

In another lesson, we will discuss the choice of file format for your photos: either JPEG or RAW. If you’re serious about growing in underwater photography, choose the RAW format and never look back. If you want to know why, take this lesson, where I’ll explain the pros & cons of both, including the impact that JPEG conversion has on underwater images.

Colours management is tricky underwater, and the White Balance is a setting that I adjust on nearly all of my underwater photos. Because it is a key camera control, you will find a lesson dedicated to white balance underwater, to help you get the best colours that your camera and lights are able to produce.

Finally, there is a very important lesson about how to check whether your photo is over-exposed or under-exposed, using the Histogram. I know the concept of histogram may sound a bit complex, but believe me you CANNOT trust your camera LCD screen when deciding if you have lost details in the highlights or shadows, even on a 3,000 US$ camera that screen cannot be trusted! By getting the exposure right, you will produce natural-looking underwater photos with more details, and the histogram is essential to help you do that.

As always, I will make complex subjects easy to learn using clear diagrams and plenty of illustrative underwater photos.

If you are new to Photography, I recommend you take this course, before going to the Underwater Lighting, Underwater Macro or Wide-Angle Courses. 

If you are already an experienced top-side photographer, meaning you know how to control exposure manually, you’re very clear about file formats, there’s a lot of this you already know. I would just suggest you still take the White Balance and Histogram lessons, as these include a lot of specifics to the underwater world.

Enjoy the Underwater Camera Settings Course!

Course Content

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Course Includes

  • 6 Lessons
  • 38 Topics
  • 7 Quizzes

Ratings and Reviews

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What's your experience? We'd love to know!
John Warmington
Posted 3 weeks ago
you can teach an old dog new tricks

Explains some some more complex areas in a simple way. A must for new UW photographers. Off to change my flash settings to rear curtain!

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