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Discover the Enchanting World of Underwater Portrait Photography

Underwater Photography Portraits: Capturing the Magic BelowHave you ever wondered how photographers manage to capture stunning underwater portraits? From ethereal wedding shots to captivating swim team photos, underwater photography is a growing trend that’s fascinating people all over the world.

In this article, we will explore the world of underwater portrait photography, including the increasing demand for this unique art form and the popular genres within it. We will also delve into the gear needed to create these captivating images, from beginner options like the Dicapac bag to professional housing like the Ikelite housing.

So, grab your snorkel and let’s dive deep into the fascinating world of underwater portrait photography!

Underwater Photography Portraits

Increasing Demand for Underwater Portrait Photography

Underwater portrait photography has gained immense popularity in recent years. A variety of factors have contributed to this surge in interest.

With advancements in camera technology, photographers have been able to achieve stunning results underwater, capturing the beauty and grace of their subjects in a whole new light. Additionally, social media platforms have played a crucial role in promoting underwater photography, allowing photographers to showcase their work to a wider audience.

Popular Genres in Underwater Portrait Photography

1. Underwater Wedding Photography:

Imagine exchanging vows surrounded by the gentle currents of the sea, with the vibrant marine life as witnesses.

Underwater wedding photography has become increasingly popular among daring couples who want their special day to be truly unforgettable. The flowing wedding dress and weightless movements create a dreamy and magical atmosphere, resulting in breathtaking images to cherish forever.

2. Underwater Couple Photography:

Underwater couple photography transforms ordinary portraits into extraordinary ones.

Whether it’s engaged couples, underwater maternity shoots, or simply capturing the love between two people, this genre adds an artistic and unique touch to couple photography. The weightless environment creates a sense of freedom and vulnerability, capturing authentic and intimate moments.

3. Underwater Boudoir Photography:

Underwater boudoir photography is a sensual and captivating genre that brings out the hidden depths of femininity.

The glistening water adds an ethereal quality to the images, enhancing the beauty and confidence of the subject. These intimate underwater portraits have become a popular choice for individuals who want to celebrate their bodies in a unique and empowering way.

4. Underwater Swim Team Photography:

Swim teams are now diving into the realm of underwater photography to capture their true aquatic prowess.

These dynamic and action-packed images showcase the strength and agility of swimmers as they glide through the water. Underwater swim team photography not only provides stunning visuals but also serves as a valuable tool for coaches to analyze and improve their swimmers’ techniques.

Underwater Photography Gear

Options for Beginners

1. Dicapac Bag:

For beginners looking to explore underwater photography without breaking the bank, the Dicapac bag is a great choice.

This affordable option allows you to protect your camera from water while still maintaining full functionality. The Dicapac bag acts as a waterproof housing, ensuring that your camera stays dry and safe during your underwater adventures.

It is easy to use and compatible with most camera models, making it an ideal choice for those who are just starting their underwater photography journey.

Upgrading to Professional Housing

2. Ikelite Housing:

As your skills and passion for underwater photography grow, you may find yourself ready to invest in more professional gear.

The Ikelite housing is a top choice among experienced photographers. Made from durable materials, this housing provides a safe and secure environment for your camera even in deeper waters.

With its advanced features and customizable options, Ikelite housing allows photographers to capture stunning images with precision and ease. It is a reliable choice for serious underwater photographers who are ready to take their craft to the next level.


Underwater photography portraits offer a unique and captivating way to capture the beauty of human subjects beneath the waves. The increasing demand for this art form has given rise to various genres, including underwater wedding photography, underwater couple photography, underwater boudoir photography, and underwater swim team photography.

While beginning your underwater photography journey, options like the Dicapac bag provide an affordable and user-friendly approach. However, as you progress, investing in professional housing like the Ikelite housing can greatly enhance the quality of your underwater images.

So, dive into the world of underwater photography, explore its endless possibilities, and capture the magic that lies beneath the surface.

Lighting and Color in Underwater Photography

Challenges related to lighting and color in underwater photography

When it comes to underwater photography, lighting and color can present unique challenges. The way light behaves underwater is different from on land, and this can significantly impact the quality and appearance of your images.

The water itself can act as a filter, absorbing and scattering light, altering both colors and contrast. As a result, underwater photographers often face issues such as poor visibility, color distortion, and lack of natural light.

Overcoming these challenges is crucial to capturing vibrant and captivating underwater portraits.

Tips for overcoming lighting and color issues

1. Understanding White Balance:

The first step in overcoming lighting and color issues is to understand white balance.

White balance refers to the adjustment of colors to ensure that white objects appear truly white. Underwater, colors tend to appear more blue or green due to the intense filtering of light.

Using the appropriate white balance setting on your camera can help correct these color casts and produce more natural-looking images. Experimenting with different white balance modes, such as auto, custom, or preset modes like underwater mode, can help you achieve the desired results.

2. Use Artificial Lighting:

One effective way to combat the limited natural light underwater is by using artificial lighting.

External flash units or strobes are commonly employed to provide additional light and control over shadows. By positioning your strobes correctly, you can illuminate your subject, reduce backscatter (the specks and particles that appear in underwater images), and bring out the true colors of the scene.

It is important to experiment with different angles, distances, and strengths of artificial lighting to achieve the desired effect. 3.

Adapt to Available Light:

In situations where using artificial lighting is not feasible or desirable, adapting to the available light becomes essential. Take advantage of natural light sources, such as the sun or surface light, to create stunning effects.

Shooting towards the surface can create a beautiful backlighting effect, highlighting the subject and creating a dreamy atmosphere. Additionally, working with the available ambient light can add a sense of depth and drama to your underwater images.

Experimenting with different angles and compositions can help you utilize the available light to its fullest potential. 4.

Color Correction:

Post-processing plays a crucial role in correcting any color distortion that may occur in underwater images. Using photo editing software, you can adjust the colors and fine-tune your images to match the actual underwater scene.

This involves correcting the white balance, enhancing or correcting specific colors, and adjusting contrast and saturation. It is important to exercise restraint and maintain a natural look, while at the same time ensuring that the vibrant beauty of the underwater world is captured accurately.

How to Take Underwater Shots

Shooting Techniques in Underwater Photography

Underwater photography requires a different approach compared to traditional photography on land. The weightlessness and fluid nature of the water can greatly affect how you shoot your subjects.

Here are some key shooting techniques to keep in mind when taking underwater shots:

1. Master Buoyancy Control:

To capture sharp and clear images, it is essential to master buoyancy control.

Maintaining neutral buoyancy allows you to stay stable in the water and gives you better control over your camera. This means you need to be mindful of your breathing, body position, and equipment to minimize any accidental movements that could result in blurry images.

2. Get Close to Your Subject:

Water is denser than air, and as a result, it reduces the effective range of your camera’s flash or strobes.

To maximize the impact of your lighting and capture more detail, it is advisable to get as close to your subject as possible. However, it is important to respect and not disturb marine life while doing so.

Be aware of your surroundings, and avoid touching or causing any harm to the delicate underwater ecosystem.

Posing and Directing Subjects in Underwater Photography

Working with subjects underwater presents unique challenges when it comes to posing and directing. The weightless environment can make it difficult for subjects to maintain their desired positions, and communication can be limited.

Here are some tips to help you successfully pose and direct subjects underwater:

1. Practice Communication Techniques:

Since verbal communication is not possible underwater, it is important to establish nonverbal communication techniques before the shoot.

Simple hand signals or pre-planned cues can help you convey instructions to your subject. Practicing these techniques before the actual shoot will ensure a smoother and more efficient workflow.

2. Capture Motion and Flow:

The fluidity of water provides a fantastic opportunity to capture graceful movements and flowing fabrics.

Encourage your subjects to embrace the weightless environment and experiment with various poses and movements. Flowing dresses, swirling hair, or dynamic jumps can create captivating and otherworldly images.

3. Take Advantage of Natural Props:

Underwater environments often provide natural props and features that can enhance your compositions.

From coral reefs and rock formations to aquatic plant life, incorporating these elements into your shots can add depth and interest to your images. Encourage your subjects to interact with their surroundings to create visually engaging and organic compositions.


Capturing captivating underwater portraits requires understanding the challenges posed by lighting and color and employing the right techniques to overcome them. Utilizing artificial lighting effectively, adapting to the available natural light, and applying color correction techniques are essential in capturing vibrant and beautiful underwater images.

Additionally, mastering buoyancy control, getting close to the subject, and successfully posing and directing subjects are important skills to ensure successful underwater photography. By applying these tips and techniques, you can dive into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves and capture the magic of underwater photography.

Post Production in Underwater Photography

Range of post-production options in underwater photography

Post-production plays a vital role in bringing out the full potential of your underwater images. From color correction and enhancement to compositing and fine-tuning, there are several options available to enhance your underwater photographs.

Here are some common post-production techniques used in underwater photography:

1. Color Correction:

Color correction is one of the most crucial aspects of post-production in underwater photography.

It involves adjusting the colors to ensure accurate representation of the underwater scene. This process often includes correcting white balance, adjusting overall color tones, enhancing or correcting specific hues, and fine-tuning saturation and contrast.

By carefully adjusting the colors, you can restore the natural look of the underwater world and create vibrant and captivating images. 2.

Contrast Enhancement:

Due to the absorption and scattering of light in water, images captured underwater can often lack contrast. Post-production provides the opportunity to enhance the contrast of your images, making them more visually impactful.

By adjusting the levels or curves, you can bring out details in the shadows and highlights, creating a sense of depth and adding drama to your underwater photographs. 3.

Reduction of Backscatter:

Backscatter refers to the particles and specks that often appear in underwater images as a result of suspended particles in the water. Post-production techniques can help reduce the visibility of backscatter and create cleaner and clearer images.

Tools such as clone stamps or healing brushes can be used to remove unwanted backscatter, minimizing distractions and improving the overall quality of your underwater shots.

Tips for color correction and compositing in underwater photography

1. Use Reference Photos:

When it comes to color correction in underwater photography, using reference photos taken during the dive can be immensely helpful.

These reference photos capture the scene with a grey card or a color chart underwater. By comparing your underwater images to the reference photos, you can more accurately adjust the colors and achieve a more realistic representation of the underwater environment.

2. Fine-tune with Local Adjustments:

In underwater photography, different areas of the image may require different adjustments.

Utilizing the local adjustment tools in your chosen photo editing software can help you fine-tune specific areas of the image. For example, you can selectively adjust the brightness, contrast, or color temperature of the subject, background, or other elements within the frame.

These local adjustments allow for precise control and can greatly enhance the overall quality of your underwater images. 3.

Composite Multiple Exposures:

Compositing involves blending multiple exposures or images together to create a final image with enhanced dynamic range or to remove unwanted elements. Underwater photography often involves challenging lighting conditions, with areas of extreme brightness and darkness.

By taking multiple exposures and blending them together in post-production, you can retain details in both highlights and shadows, resulting in a well-balanced and visually striking image.

Starting the Journey Into Underwater Photography

Renting Equipment and Joining Forums for Beginners

For those looking to venture into underwater photography, renting equipment can be a cost-effective way to get started. Underwater photography gear can be quite expensive, and renting allows you to try different setups and determine what works best for you.

Many camera stores or underwater photography specialists offer rental services, providing access to high-quality gear for a fraction of the cost. Additionally, joining online forums and communities dedicated to underwater photography can provide beginners with a wealth of knowledge and guidance.

These platforms allow you to connect with experienced photographers, ask questions, and learn from their expertise, further enhancing your underwater photography journey.

Emphasizing the Need for Practice and Exploration in Underwater Photography

Like any other form of photography, practice and exploration are key to improving your skills in underwater photography. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your camera settings and equipment, both on land and in a controlled underwater environment, before venturing into the open water.

Practicing techniques such as buoyancy control, composition, and working with models underwater can greatly enhance your ability to capture stunning images. Exploring different underwater environments, such as coral reefs or freshwater lakes, allows you to experience various lighting conditions, marine life, and subjects, enabling you to push the boundaries of your creativity and develop your unique style.


In the world of underwater photography, post-production techniques such as color correction and compositing take your images to new depths. By understanding how to adjust colors, enhance contrast, and reduce backscatter, you can bring out the full potential of your underwater photographs.

Renting equipment and joining online forums provide beginners with access to quality gear and a supportive community to learn and grow. Finally, through practice and exploration, you can refine your skills, discover new techniques, and capture captivating underwater images that truly showcase the beauty of the underwater world.

In conclusion, underwater portrait photography is a captivating art form that continues to gain popularity. Through this article, we have explored the increasing demand for underwater portraits and the popular genres within this field.

We have also delved into the importance of understanding lighting and color in underwater photography and provided tips for overcoming these challenges. Additionally, we discussed shooting techniques, posing and directing subjects, post-production options, and the significance of practice and exploration in underwater photography.

By applying these techniques and continuously honing our skills, we can dive into the mesmerizing world beneath the waves and capture the magic of underwater portraits. So grab your camera, embrace the depths, and let the underwater journey begin!

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