Getting Started with Underwater Photography – Part 10 – Mental Preparation

Dear reader – I hope you now feel comfortable with your camera on the reef like a Viking with his battle axe on the shores of medieval Europe, now that our starter course in underwater photography is complete.

What else is there to learn?

I think it’s important to have a generally well thought-out approach to underwater photography. Don’t just jump in and let the ocean surprise you with what it will offer you.

I am thinking of myself as somewhat of a cultural chameleon – often, not always, I suck up what the culture around me does well. From 1998 to 2002 I was living in Germany. I plan, believe me.

What is there to plan in underwater photography?

You want to be prepared! Read up on what to see, where to look for it! Think about what gear to bring to shoot the goodies at your destination. There are lots of excellent marine life books, with information about the biogeographic ranges of animals. Talk to the locals and see what other photographers have done in the place you are going to! Don’t replicate their work – but anticipate what marine life you could see, and what antics that marine life could be performing. Take some time before the dive and visualize what you expect in front of your lens. This will get you to enjoy the experience more, and you are more likely to end up with good shots as well! With all this knowledge, you will be with the right lens on your camera, looking in the right spots, at the right time of the day, for the most unusual critters.

shark in palau by klaus stiefel

Shark in Palau. I hope you’ll get shots like this one from now on!

Did you enjoy my series on starting underwater photography? Then why not join me at the 2nd annual Evolution Photoganza in Malapascua, Philippines! This is an underwater photography event for shooters of all levels, in an incredibly awesome dive spot in the lovely Philippine archipelago. If you are a beginning or intermediate underwater photographer, I’m happy to teach you more tricks & skills. If you are a pro, I can show you some amazing marine life – believe me, Malapascua has it all, from thresher sharks to a highly diverse macro fauna.

And, I am not quite done yet – please check back next week for some online and book resources for the underwater photographer.