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tips for better digital photos

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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give me gills!
Jun 18, 2003
I just bout a canon power shot a70 with uw housing.

Anybody know how to make it the best setting for UW pics??


One thing that I discovered just yesterday is that it often pays to slightly under-expose the shots (say -0.5 or so, sometimes even more like -0.7 to -1). This works really well with digital cameras at least, since it seems to help compensate for the "wash-out" effect of all the green light at dept. I suspect that the green-light tricks the exposure meters somehow. Under-exposing also works really well in the shallows during mid-day light conditions, since the rays on the rocks, coral etc. pick up some contrast and end up looking a lot more realistic.

When I post-process the pictures, I tend to reduce the amount of green (on the software I'm using, this is labeled "purple-tint" since it is a move towards magenta on the green-magenta axis). I also tweak the gamma a little in order to improve contrast and then fiddle with the brightness to compensate for the gamma adjustments (i.e. I try to keep the picture from getting any saturated regions, which look like fuzzy little white regions on the picture, and I try to make sure that the picture is bright w/o having an unnatural glow). Still, a lot of the pictures that I have posted have some regions that are over-exposed and a few of the picture glow a bit. Slightly under-exposing the picture seems to help with these two problems.

I suspect that a magenta filter (kind of like a Sea-View mask) might be a handy tool, since post-processing the pictures reduces the quality quite a bit (the better the picture starts out, the better it ends up).

Using artificial light is a big benefit. If you look at Alastair's photos, he seems to use flash a lot. This photo (a lucky shot of mine) was taken using a flash and had absolutely no post-processing. Some of the really best photos in the gallery use artificial light as well.

The one other tool that I'm eager to add to my tool-set is a way to get wide-angle shots. Most of my best photos seem to be shot at the widest possible angle, with the distance between the camera and the subject being the used to set the size of the subject in the shot (not always possible!). This makes the backgrounds in the shots a lot more panoramic, and it makes the water seem much clearer.

Actually, I was going to post a similar question, but specifically targeted towards the Olympus C-5050, which allows you to set up a few favorite pre-set modes. I wanted to see if anyone is using that feature to good efffect. Hopefully Stephan one of the photo-heavyweights on DB will weigh in.

Can't wait to see your gallery...
That site is a great reference - they have a forums & its geared towards underwater digital photography.

Without a strobe, you need to get close to slow moving objects. Don't use your zoom - keep it as wide as possible. In dirtier water, shallower is better since you need all the ambient light yo can get. hmm, there area million other tips, but having a brain fart right now...

Just take lots of photos & post when you get a couple samples. I'd be more than happy to help you with the photoshop/editting to make them look good. Green pictures come to life with photoshop - important to combat of the light-filtering properties of water. A filter will help too - I asked a newbie question about filters in wetpixel & they gave me some good suggestions. Let me know if you need anything else!
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Reactions: caymandiver
Thanks guys.

I took a few shots today and I had a great time. I put the mode on clowdy setting and put the exposure to -1. It seemed to help much.

I'm having some problem with the use of flash. When I use it I pick up all the particles in the water and it blocks my shots. I'm thinking about taking my flash light with me next time.

I wanted more light in my pictures so I took my tripod down with me. Very difficult to use the thing but I think I will have a better chance next time.

I'll post some pictures I took today on the gallery. I hope you guys enjoy it! Cayman Islands is really amazing.

Thanks a lot for you tips. It helped very much.
The particles your getting by using the camera's internal flash are called back-scatter. When you use the internal flash you are almost condemend to get those. I usually just shut my flash off. An external strobe will help, if pointed correctly, but I don't like to carry all of the extra stuff with me when I freedive.

If your scuba diving there are a couple of things that you can do. First, I have never tried a tripod, but I have used a monopod quite a few times underwater. I use this when doing avilable light wreck photos. I just stick the thing into the mud, or sand, bottom and open the camera up as wide as possible and slow it down as much as possible. This worked out really well when trying to get as much of a ship wreck in as I could.

The second thing was to get a strobe, or actually two, and mount them as far away from the camera as possible. One of my old dive buddies actually made a camera mount out of a collapsable boat hook. He had one strobe mounted out as far as the cord would go one the right hand side and he mounted another one, slave strobe, on the othe side out around 4' or so. When he shot pictures the light would come in way from the sides and eliminate the back-scatter. You may not need to do anything so extreme since your diving in Cayman, but we were doing this on shipwrecks in the 170' range with vis of less than 5'.

Pezman, I have adjusted the camera down as you have said when I take pictures of my daughter, everything seems to get whited-out otherwise, but I haven't tried it underwater yet. I was wondering if anyone has adjusted the "sharpness" on their C-5050 while shooting with it underwater? I have just kept it on the factory settings for that part of it.

I have bought an Inon wide angle lens and love it. I had been thinking about one of the dome port adaptors, but was waiting for Cliff's report on the one he was going to get, but so far he has been ignoring my private messages.;)

Thanks for the link. The check is in the mail. Here's an article about using filters that I managed to find:


It managed to convey well in 5 minutes what it has taken me months to learn badly, and it added a lot more information to that.

You bastard! You are way to far ahead in the arms race :D
A lot of what they say in that site is over my head...

but articles like the one you found are great!
They got some amazing pictures on that site.

When I take pics everything turns up blue.. :(

Oh well. I can still take some wicked freediving movies with the camera.

We are working on freedivingcayman.com and once that's up and running I'll put a buch of cool movies of us. Some awesome dives where you have to crawl a 3 foot space to get to the other side of the cave. I'll let you guys know as soon as it's up!
FYI - Deeperblue will soon be launching a sister website devoted to this very topic - created and developed by yours truly - stay tuned for more details...
So Cliff, can you tell us about the dome port?? Is it worth the cash??:confused:

Sorry dude for not responding to your PM

1) I don't have the $$$ to buy one yet - if I did, I would buy one in a heartbeat

2) My understanding is that it increases the coverage of the Inon 100 by about 20 degrees and can be used for over/under shots. Also corrects chromatic abberation at the edges.

I will be looking more into this as I get ready to launch the site - I'll be working DEMA really hard to get all the latest info on shooting digital underwater.


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