If you’ve mastered the art of underwater photography during the day and are looking for a new challenge with which to flex your photographic skills, night diving, and all of the added dangers that come with it might just be for you.
However, before you grab your underwater camera and head off into the darkness, it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of what you’re dealing with as inexperience and over confidence can have serious consequences when diving at night.
So if you’re planning a midnight photography foray to a reef near you, here’s what you need to consider before plunging into the deep end.
The biggest and most important challenge of underwater photography at night is ensure the safety of everyone involved in the shoot.
Only experienced divers or those accompanied by qualified instructors should attempt a night time shoot, otherwise you could find yourself in serious trouble.
Ensuring that you’re familiar with all of your kit will also help to keep you safe, so from the oxygen tank on your back to the camera in your hands, learn how everything works and practice before you hit the water.
The main aesthetic challenge that you’ll face on a midnight shoot is of course light.
The light you bring with you is all you’ve got to work with when the sun goes down
With no sunbursts or bright glows coming from the sky above, your only source of light will be the strobes you carry with you.
So in order to get great shots, you need to be comfortable moving the lights around and be confident enough that you know how adjusting them will affect your next shot.
Though lighting is a challenge on night shoots, the added control you have over the directionality and quality of the light can make for some truly fantastic shots.
It’s easy to lose your bearings underwater at the best of times, add into that total darkness and you could end up swimming round and round in circles vainly searching for something to photograph.
The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to make a dive in the same area during the day, that way you’ll already be familiar with the layout and you can scope out likely spots to capture great photos.
A little bit of planning before you make your dive can make a huge difference to your results, turning run of the mill underwater shots into striking images.
Think about the underwater landscape that you’ll be photographing, the creatures that you hope to capture and the environment that exists under the waves.
This should help you to get an idea of the shots that you want and of the equipment that you’ll need to get them.
Check your settings
There’s nothing worse than surfacing from a great night time dive to see that all of your photos have been incorrectly exposed, are horribly grainy or that your strobe lights have found their way into every frame.
So before you jump in, carefully check all of he settings on your camera to make sure they’re correct and try to check your shots regularly as you go in order to ensure you’re getting the images that you want. For more tips this underwater photography blog is a great site to visit.
Knowing your equipment and how to use it will help you get great shots at night
Colour & contrast
Thanks to the lack of light available, you may well find that the images you get are lacking a little bit of colour and contrast.
The only way to fix this after the fact is in post-production, so get familiar with Photoshop, learn a few fancy tricks and your images will be popping in no time.
Once you’ve got the hang of night time underwater photography, you’re guaranteed to capture some unbelievable shots. So plan ahead, know your equipment and take a deep breath, and you’ll be creating stunning images every time you dive.
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