8 Tips for Shooting Divers
Making divers the subject of your photograph lends scale and can make a subject more accessible. Alex Tyrrell shares some tips and tricks for capturing your buddies looking their best
Making a diver look good within a photograph has its challenges, so consider the following
1 Legs and fins
When a diver’s legs are visible, frog kicking or sculling can make them look a bit weird. Try to have the diver scissor kick with straight legs to create a nicer outline and attempt to shoot when their legs are slightly apart, ideally with a curve in the fins.
Avoid shooting just as a diver exhales, as the bubbles will obscure their face. Having a nice stream of bubbles above the diver looks good, but watch for blown- out highlights in this area.
3 Synchronised breathing
When shooting multiple divers you need to time your shot for when the bubbles are in a good position. This is where some coordinated breathing comes into play. Forgroup shots, you may need to orchestrate the divers, getting them to synchronise their breathing pattern.
4 Awkward angles
Apply the same principles as when you are shooting fish – you don’t really want to see the rear end of a diver! Position the diver swimming across the frame or towards the camera, rather than away from it.
Portrait photographers don’t crop their subjects at the joints i.e. elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. Stick to the same guidelines underwater. For a wide-angle scene it is better to include the whole diver, as half a diver at the edge of the frame doesn’t look right. But for a close-focus wide-angle shot, having the top half or even just the face of a diver is okay.
6 Subject separation
You need to separate your subject from other items of interest within the frame. Don’t overlap a subject in the foreground with a diver in the background or vice-versa.
7 Reflective surfaces
Be careful of equipment that has reflective areas, such as white slates hanging from a BCD or the metal casing of a regulators second stage. Even a diver's mask at the wrong angle can reflect light from your strobes, obscuring their eyes, which has a negative impact.
8 Unwanted distractions
When shooting with a wide-angle lens that has a large area of coverage, it's easy to have unwanted elements stray into view. Check around the frame before pressing the shutter release to make sure this doesn’t happen. Look for other divers in the background, streams of bubbles rising from below and fins at the edges of the frame as these can ruin a great shot.
To read Alex's full article and see all the accompanying photographs go to the July 2014 issue of DIVE.