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7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos

When I left my cushy sales job to go travel full-time (2015-2017), I took with me a GoPro Hero4. Not knowing my travels would turn into my journey to becoming an PADI Scuba Instructor, this was the camera I used for my underwater photos while I was overseas. I had heard great things about the Olympus Tough cameras and when I got back stateside, I purchased one and retired my GoPro.

Below are some tips on how to use your Olympus TG camera to get better pictures underwater.

*All images taken with Olympus TG-6


The mistake some people make is shooting from the top down. If you do this, you’re going have a ton of pictures of fish backs and not the epic shots of them staring you in the face. Get on their level. Being at eye-level will allow you to get really great pictures of the sea life.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos


Having proper buoyancy control is crucial for maintaining stability and maneuverability underwater. Having control over your movements allows you to position yourself effectively and frame your shots without disturbing the surrounding environment. Set yourself up and stabilize your buoyancy so that you’re still when you take the shot. If there’s a rock or sand by you use two fingers or a pointer stick to steady yourself while you take the shot. If you use your fingers fan the area with your hand to make sure you’re not putting your fingers on something alive and make sure you're not grabbing onto coral, they’re living too.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos


The Olympus Tough cameras can be used for both above and below water photos. Underwater mode is tailored to optimize settings for underwater shooting. This mode adjusts white balance, exposure, and color saturation to compensate for the loss of color and contrast underwater, resulting in vibrant and balanced images. Turn on underwater mode before diving to ensure your camera is optimized for the underwater environment.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos


 Sometimes dives can have action-packed scenes that finds you needing to be fast and responsive to capture the moment. Change to continuous shooting mode to capture a rapid sequence of images with a single press of the shutter button. This feature is particularly useful for photographing fast-moving subjects such as sharks, turtles, or a school of rays ensuring you don't miss the perfect shot.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos


The Olympus Tough models have impressive impressive macro capabilities, that I didn't have with my GoPro. The macro mode allows you to capture stunning close-up shots of underwater critters. Turn on this setting to optimize focus and exposure settings for shooting small subjects up close. This will allow you to get close to your subject with minimum focusing distance and capture intricate details.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos


Underwater scenes often feature a wide dynamic range, with bright highlights and dark shadows, not to mention constant changes in visibility which all can be challenging for the camera's exposure metering. You can manually change the exposure compensation to adjust the brightness of your images and prevent overexposure or underexposure in challenging lighting conditions. Increase or decrease the exposure compensation to achieve the desired exposure levels and preserve details in both highlights and shadows and save time in post editing.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos


You’re taking pictures of wild animals. Being in the open ocean is different than being at an aquarium where the animals are confined to a small tank. These critters have miles and miles of water to call their home, so if they swim away from you be patient, there will be others. Take the time to look under rooks and in holes too, some cool eels and rays like to hide in there. Keep your eyes peeled. The perfect shot may be right in front of you.

7 Tips for Better Underwater Photos

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