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Related FAQs: Above-water Photography, Underwater Photography, Digital Photography, Aquatic Videography

Related Articles: Aquarium Photography: A Wonderful Offshoot By:  Adam Blundell and Shane Silcox,   Underwater Photography, Reviews on: Norbert Wu's How to Photograph Underwater, Helix Camera (and books)

Making Worthwhile Photographs Above & Below Water,

With a de-emphasis on optics, optical science and techniques; and focus on practical aspects, including making and selling imagery

Part 1

To: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5


By Bob Fenner


Other talks/presentations have sufficiently gone over theoretical and practical aspects of taking
photos underwater and above. This pitch targets the current best practices briefly on gear and
fields of making, and successfully marketing image work in our interests.

Images serve all sorts of purposes: "A pic is worth oh so many words" as the saying goes.
For folks trying to sell their writing, there is nothing better than having good photos to go along
with it. My fave example is the song writing duo of Elton John and Bernie Taupin... with the former
writing melodies and  Bernie cranking out the lyrics. Both good/great in their own fields and tremendous
Humans are visually oriented. If we were dogs we might have Playdog magazine, with blank pages w/ smells smeared on them.
Also at a basal level, we are hunters, gatherers... and imagery plays a strong role in our sharing,
engaging in these activities and their recountings.

The requisite elements of making photographs are listed. Read them: Equipment, the mental and physical ability to use it, and the settings to put the gear and knowledge/skills to work.

Most important, and thus listed first, is light/lighting. One/fave definition of what photography is is controlling light. You have to have sufficient quantity, quality of light to make photos... ambient and/or provided artificially. Almost always you'll want to provide at least "fill".
Some folks still shoot film... and most then digitize for use... I only shoot digital now.
The last point is worth mentioning again.

Go with what you know... and if you don't know much, go w/ something simple to start with.
Many, too many folks get overwhelmed, discouraged to the point of giving up by having too sophisticated gear to begin with. Start with a basic model if you have no in/formal background in photography. Like a good scientist, change only one setting at a time, and go back, change the setting till you understand the practical implications/actions of its use.
I have judged at underwater film contests where the ten dollar camera shot won the "grand prize"... With, at times, the multi-thousand dollar rig folks howling re. What the winner knew in the way of where to look, the local biology, how to "tell a story" with the setting... trumps any/all gear cost. Having the most expensive set-up does not equate w/

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