An introduction to Underwater Photography

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Chances are, someone famous first inspired you to dive, by which I don’t necessarily mean your instructor or whoever stuck a regulator in your mouth and let you breathe underwater for the first time. No, I am talking about that someone whose example made you say “Diving is cool. Exciting. I’d like to be a diver.” And then you were. For many of us, these heroes and role models appeared in books, cinema, television, websites, social media, facebook, instagram. Maybe you watched Peter Gimbel explore the Andrea Doria and said, “Wow – I belong in shipwrecks.” Perhaps it was Jacqueline Bisset in the The Deep. Or David Doubilet’s and Alex Mustard’s pictures in National Geographic. These heroes showed us how exciting diving is and that it is something you can do – not something someone else does while you watch.

Here is where we talk about underwater Photography. We will show our best work throughout the site, and yours! Sooner or later, most of us will grab an underwater camera and try for ourselves. There are exiting digital photography and digital video websites and blogs to explore. This site hopes to invite all of you back over and over again to see what’s new in the underwater gallery. We’ll discuss the people that have made a name for themselves in the marine environment like Hans Hass, Sylvia Earle and Michele Hall. We will keep you updated on the latest cameras and housings you shouldn’t miss, new strobes that catch our attention, beautiful underwater books and loads of links to other information.

We’ll talk about underwater history, methods, and if you like, you can find out how your work too can be featured.

Hans Hass

Pioneer underwater filmmaker and photographer Hans Hass is known the world over for his distinguished career and for his contributions to science. Hass received two 1998 NOGI awards from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, becoming the first double-award winner in the Academy’s 38-year history. His award for distinguished service honored him for his early explorations of the seas. Hass, a free diver since 1937, began taking underwater photographs in the mid-1930s. He was the first scuba diver to film under the Caribbean and Red seas. His work is seen in more than 20 films and a dozen books. “Stalking Under the Sea” his first film, was shot in 1939, and his first books, “Hunting Underwater with Harpoon and Camera,” was published that same year. He founded the International Institute for Submarine Research in Liechtenstein. In 1950, Hass developed the first quality underwater flash.

National Geographic

Some of us are all waiting for that yellow magazine to land in our mailbox (or online) every month. For years, National Geographic has showed us the underwater world through the eyes of world renowned photographers and scientists.

Underwater Equipment & Books

Please visit our Photography or Videography sections for equipment information, tips on how to get started and books to learn from.

Photography & Videography

Many divers soon look for a purpose in their diving after their initial training. By capturing images on camera, you are able to share the excitement of the underwater world with non-divers, family, friends and fellow divers.

Dive Global helps you get started. We give you information on what to think about when buying an underwater digital camera, with housing or even housing for smartphone. There are many options and brands to choose from, all come with a different price tag!

Check out the photography section to find out more about different kinds of cameras and what housing to choose. Our special digital photography page deals with all that is new in the digital arena. If video what you are interested in, then visit our videography page.


Thinking of getting into underwater photography but have no idea where to start?

You need to begin by thinking about how much money you are willing to invest in a camera system. As you will quickly find out, these systems are not cheap.

Basic point-and-shoot cameras are cheap but they won’t give you the flexibility you need to learn about photography. Rule them out unless you want snapshots. A DSLR camera with accessory lenses and an off-camera strobes is really the Best option you should consider. Go for a model that offers user-adjustable shutter speed and aperture settings.

The most versatile underwater system you can buy is a land DSLR camera in a waterproof housing. Rather then having a viewfinder window, DSLR offer through-the-lens viewing, which means you’re seeing exactly what you’re taking a picture of. They also have auto-focus. This is the most expensive system, but it’s actually the easiest to use, once you’ve got to grips with the basics of exposure and composition.

Whatever you choose, don’t buy from the first person you speak to. Look around, ask a lot of questions and talk to as many people as you can who use the different systems.

Read up about the different options and think about taking a course or two to learn from a professional. Finally, make sure you practice those buoyancy-control skills.


Whatever you choose, don’t buy from the first person you speak to. Look around, ask a lot of questions and talk to as many people as you can who use the different systems.

First rule: look at housings first before you decide which digital camera to buy! You do not want to end up with a model without being able to buy a housing for it! The developments of digital photography are constantly moving forward so we are not discussing particular models on this page.

For manufacturers of housings for Nikon, Canon, Olympus or Panasonic cameras, have a look at:

  • Seacam
  • Nauticam
  • Ikelite
  • Hugyfot
  • Aquatica
  • Eva Marine
  • Amphibico
  • Fantasea
  • Gates UW Products
  • Light & Motion Industries
  • Ocean Brite Systems
  • Sea & Sea UW/Photography
  • Sea Optics USA
  • Undersea Video Housings

Great Books on Underwater Photography

Underwater Photography Masterclass
By Dr. Alex Mustard

The Underwater Photographer
By Martin Edge

Underwater Photography
by Tobias Friedrich

The Underwater Photography Handbook
By Annemarie Kohler

The Art & Technique of Underwater Photography
By Mark Webster

Jim Church Essential Guide to Composition
By Jim Church

How to Photograph Underwater
By Norbert Wu

Manual of Underwater Photography
By Decouet & Green

Succesful Underwater Photography
By Brian Skerry and Howard Hall

Wonders of the Reef: Diving with a Camera
By Stephen Frink

Essentials of Underwater Photography
By Robert M. Jackson

Exploring Underwater Photography
By John Christopher Fine

The New Guide to Sea & Sea
By Cara Sherman & Joe Liburdi

Underwater Photography Now
By P J Diamondis

Simple Guide to Rebreather Diving
By Steven M. Barsky

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