3 Questions to Ask to Get Started with Underwater Photography

Thinking about getting started with underwater photography?

It’s exciting! And probably confusing. Where to start? Many people start with price or brand. Some ask what's best.

Price is not a bad place to start.

The challenge is that sometimes, the setup at the price range you were / are willing to pay is not one that would produce the kind of results you want. For example, if you want to shoot moody pictures of massive shipwrecks, a $35 disposable will give you only heartaches. On the other hand, if you're looking to have pictures of your kids snorkeling during their first vacation, that $35 disposable will give you fun snapshots of those great memories.

Brand is certainly a legitimate place to start.

Your choice of underwater camera will first and foremost be limited to whether a housing exists for the camera of your choice. Canon, Olympus, Nikon are all familiar land camera brands that make some models with underwater housings. Or you can choose Sealife or Sea & Sea, dedicated underwater camera makers.

The problem with the brand approach is that YOU are still not really part of the equation.

The question of what's best starts and ends with you. Before you start asking what underwater system to buy, ask yourself these 3 questions

  1. What is my level of experience with photography on land: point and shoot in full automatic, started learning SLR or DSLR (if you don't know what SLR and DSLR mean, that's an important clue), intermediate photographer, very good photographer, etc.?
  2. What kind of pictures do I want to create: snapshots, images that I can enter into Wetpixel.com contests, sell stock photography, etc.?
  3. How often do I dive: every chance I get and where-ever I can, or only on vacation in tropical waters once or twice a year, etc.?

These questions - more than price, brand, or what that stranger on the internet message board said - are the most important ones to answer first. The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search parameters and make them more realistic.