Underwater photographer and videographer, Christoph Weber talks about giving advice to underwater videographers and photographers…
What are your top three tips for budding underwater videographers and photographers?
In addition to the more practical tips I mentioned in my previous article, I would add these three more general ones:
Shoot as often as you can underwater, and don’t forget – you can practice some skills (for example focus distance of your camera or lighting with manual mode settings) on land as well.
There are many great resources on the web where divers, amateurs and professionals alike, share their underwater footage. You can learn a lot by just looking at those images and videos. Ask yourself: Which composition and lighting was used? How was the video shot and edited? Does it work well, and if not – why not?
There are a lot of boards, Facebook-groups and websites where you can find underwater images. Good underwater videos are a little bit more difficult to find, Youtube and Vimeo are good sources of course but search results can be overwhelming! I’d recommend looking out for the work of Florian Fischer, Dustin Adamson, Lee Burghard, Kay Burn Lim and Erick Higuera, to name just a few of the very talented videographers out there.
Show your pictures and videos to your peers, especially non-divers, and use them to spread your love of the underwater world and to raise awareness about the issues it faces. Share them with the public as well, ask for constructive criticism to improve your skills. If you do share them to a wider audience, remember to keep it brief; nobody will have time to look at 500 pictures or watch a one hour video from your last dive-trip.
How about etiquette for diving as, or with, an underwater photographer / videographer?
Always place the well-being of your subjects first
Do not risk harming, damaging or disturbing marine life for the sake of getting a good shot.
Don’t block a good subject forever
If there are other divers with cameras in your group, take a few shots, then let the next person have their turn and just rotate through. Talk about this with the group before the dive to have everyone on the same page. Give the person who is on the subject plenty of room. While other people are taking their shots you can either look at yours and think about ways to improve them on your next turn, or you can watch the other divers and see how they set up their shots to possibly learn from that. And don’t forget about the divers without a camera; they will want to get a look at that cool critter as well!
Think about others
For example, when taking pictures and using strobes, don’t get close to a person who is filming and fire your strobes. You might completely ruin their shot by doing that!