I love shooting wide-angle photos underwater, because it produces the sort of imagery which is best at engaging a wide audience, going beyond divers and snorkelers.
Wide-angle is great at story-telling, because you can convey the atmosphere of the scene as you’ve felt it underwater: you can transport the viewer into your dive. It poses some exciting challenges though, which is why we have a full course dedicated to Wide-Angle Underwater Photography, including 6 lessons.
Watch this introduction video for a detailed overview of the Course content, or keep scrolling if you are more a reading person!
First of all, we use dome ports and this has consequences on which camera settings we can use for wide-angle. In this first lesson, I explain the soft corners issue, and recommend which exposure parameters to use, according to the type of camera you have.
Strobe positioning is something which many underwater photographers find challenging in Wide-Angle, as you’re trying to light a big subject or large scenery, whilst avoiding backscatter and distracting hot spots. It can be done if you know how to place your strobes, which I explain with clear diagrams and examples.
Yet if you’re shooting in the shallows, you take stunning underwater photos without strobes, and this presents a number of advantages, such as dealing better with fast-moving subjects. I cover all this the lesson on Shallow Water Action.
From an artistic point of view, you can approach wide-angle in two ways:
- You could tell a story about a scene, which can be a patch of reef or a huge wreck, or
- You could focus on a specific subject, and tell a story about how it fits within its immediate environment.
The first approach is what I call Scenic Wide-Angle, and I have dedicated a lesson to showing you how this type of photography is best at conveying the underwater world as you have seen it during your dive.
The second approach is called Close Focus Wide-Angle (CFWA). It is reputed for producing the most eye-catching type of underwater imagery, and I can’t recommend enough that you add CFWA shots to your portfolio. It takes the right subject and lighting technique for a successful CFWA shot, but this is all covered in a dedicated lesson.
Finally, including a diver in a wide-angle photo is a great way to make it more memorable, giving it that “extra something” while helping the viewer relate, making the photo more immersive. For everything to line-up nicely, you need to know how to work with a model, and you will find a lesson where I cover model choices, communication (including specific hand-signals) and guidance on model equipment and positioning.
As always, I will use many examples and clear explanations to make complex concepts simple, and help you learn fast. Enjoy the Underwater Wide-Angle Course!