7 Common Underwater Photography Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Not so long ago, underwater photography was considered an intriguing profession or hobby only a few divers could participate in. Today marine life photography equipment is more affordable than ever therefore many divers worldwide are taking advantage of the opportunity to experience incredible underwater sights and capture them.

However, getting the best underwater camera isn’t the only secret to ocean life photography. There are a few problems underwater photographers can encounter.

Here are seven common mistakes that can be avoided to capture stunning pictures underwater:

  1. No Prominent Subject

The underwater world is so fascinating that you may want to get everything in one frame. This is common when you are capturing a reef image. Here, the problem is that you don’t have a strong foreground subject. A picture lacking a subject doesn’t tell viewers where to focus.

Solution: Find a distinct subject when clicking a wide-angle landscape photo.

  1. Cluttered Photographs

Many novice photographers focus on a subject but forget to pay attention to the background. The scenery is as important as the subject itself. For example, a close-up shot of a fish can be ruined by another creature’s tail in the frame.

Solution: Choose backgrounds that make the subject appear clear.

  1. Chasing the Subject

‘Fish chasing’ is never a part of the best professional underwater photography guide because it doesn’t get a photographer anywhere. Attempting to chase a subject ends up with a memory card full of bad shots.

Solution: Let the subject swim into the frame! Instead of shooting the subject’s butt, try to make eye contact between the creature and the camera.

  1. Blurred Subjects

Clicking moving creatures underwater isn’t as easy as capturing moving subjects on land. It looks like the object is moving with the speed of a car. Amateur photographers or newbies without knowledge around camera modes find it difficult to capture a clear photo of the subject.

Solution: The best way to click a moving subject is by picking a strobe and ensuring that the shutter speed is fast. Also, you can lock manual focus to click clear photos.

  1. Loss of Color

When it comes to marine life photography, water works as a natural filter upon colors. It absorbs warm shades and makes them a bluish hue. Losing colors becomes more common with depth. It starts with losing red, then orange and yellow.

Solution: Getting up-close-and-personal can be an intelligent solution to the problem. Apart from that, you can have a fisheye lens to adjust white balance quickly.

  1. Clicking from Above

Many novice photographers make this mistake of swimming over subjects or taking from above. According to ocean life photography experts, capturing photos from above isn’t a good technique to highlight the subject.

Solution: Shoot upwards! It will allow you to separate a creature from the background and capture a dramatic shot.

  1. Too Far Away

Whether you are capturing a photo underwater or on land, subjects far away from you can ruin the photograph. It becomes essential to be close to a subject underwater because water absorbs light and shooting from a large distance can make a subject dark and blurry.

Solution: Approach a subject and shoot through a minimum amount of water! Here, remember that you do not scare the creature while getting close to it.


Shooting photos underwater requires you to understand your subject, surroundings, and equipment. Make the right use of them and capture some stunning shots. All the best!