Reef-World Launches Green Fins Best Practice Guide for Underwater Photographers

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Good buoyancy control and trim are essential when taking photographs (Photo: Green Fins)

The Reef-World Foundation has launched an updated Green Fins Environmental Best Practice Guide for Underwater Photographers. The guidelines will help dive and snorkel operators encourage their guests to follow environmental best practices in order to protect the marine ecosystems they are photographing. 

Underwater photography is increasingly popular within the dive community, as cameras and underwater housings continue to become more accessible, and social media sharing ever more important. Using a camera on a dive, however, can be distracting and can lead to problems with buoyancy control and body positioning that damage the marine environment. The equally harmful practice of moving or manipulating marine life in order to get the 'perfect shot' has become commonplace.

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Equipment unsecured and a foot in the reef - a classic exmaple of poor practice in underwater photography (Photo: Troy Mayne/Green Fins)

Several global surveys of reef health have highlighted the need to reduce environmental pressures on coral reefs in order to ensure their survival, including the negative impacts from marine tourism. The Green Fins Environmental Best Practice for Underwater Photographers' guidelines aims to help dive operators address these negative impacts with a wide range of recommendations, from improving buoyancy skills to not fixating over a particular species. The recommendations have been brought together with the help of experinced dive profesionals and underwater photographers.

'Underwater photography is a powerful conservation tool that can bring the delights of the ocean to the surface and foster connection with the marine environment,' said Samantha Craven, Programmes Manager at Reef-World. 'However, if poorly managed, it can damage the very animals we love to photograph. Our research showed that divers holding a camera (either compact or SLR) accounted for 52.7 per cent of observed diver contacts with the reef*. These guidelines will help everyone - from operators to photographers themselves — reduce their impact and protect future photography subjects! 

The Green Fins Environmental Best Practice for Underwater Photographers poster is available to anyone as a free download from the Green Fins website.


For more information, please visit or Dive and snorkel operators interested in signing up to Green Fins can find the membership application form at:

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