Once you realise that you are actually drooling when the guy on the dive boat with the big camera shows you his pictures, you know it’s time. Time to get your own set up and get in there and take some pictures. However, the investment ranges from big to huge and it takes a while to learn how to use even a simple camera well underwater, which means a little help along the way is usually pretty useful.
PADI offers a great speciality, the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Course, and here are a few reasons why you should take the plunge, stop drooling, click some shots and get some great pics for yourself.
1. Try before you buy
Buying an underwater camera set up is expensive, even if you get something pretty simple, which is probably a good idea when you start off with the new passion.
Doing the course allows you to test a set up that the dive centre or the instructor think is good and sturdy enough to teach with. You’ll get a chance to see the finicky bits when you set it all up and put it in the casing; as well as when you rinse it, open it, dry it and store it away. You’ll see if the buttons set up makes sense to you and if manoeuvring your way through different settings (macro to video etc.) is simple and intuitive. You’ll also learn what type of style of pictures you most like taking, which may guide your purchase choice in future. Will you go for a wide-angle lens? Do you need good lights for macro photography? During the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, your instructor can also discuss different set ups, different budgets with you and have a look with you at a camera that caught your eye. All valuable information before you splash out on your first camera and casing.
2. Get shooting advice
Part of the course is learning how to frame your pictures for different effects. If you do this on your own, you’ll have a lot of trial and error before you get a good shot. Composition is also somewhat different from land photography as is flash use. During the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, your instructor will help you skip those several sessions of crappy pictures and you can start getting some decent (or good even) shots pretty fast. You’ll have a good knowledge base with which to start off when you go scuba diving and venture out on your own, new underwater camera set up in hand.
3. Learn the editing suites
As most photographers will tell you, only part of the work is done underwater. Many so so pictures can be made pretty fantastic with the right editing. There are several programs out there and it takes a while to learn to navigate them and what works best with underwater shots. During the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course, your instructor will show you how to use one of the most popular ones and help you skip a few hours of head scratching and trial and error. When you come home with your batch of new pictures, you’ll be ready to edit them from the start and you’ll also have used the right settings to make editing, cropping, zooming, etc. easier. Invaluable!
4. Get great pictures
You might not have many pictures of yourself or your buddy scuba diving so why not do the course together and get some great shots of each other. Nusa Penida in Bali, Indonesia is of course a great place to do it because Manta rays are seen more often than not on certain dive spots. Take home a great picture of yourself with a Manta ray. It can be your new Insta profile pic and/or sit in crowning glory framed on your wall. Or you might just shoot a close up of a turtle with buddy in the background, some funky nudibranch close ups and some colourful coral sceneries. Some cool stuff to show your mates and get them interested in both diving and photography. Amazing!
So stop the drooling and take the course! You’ll save yourself heaps of time and money and can dive into your new passion well prepared. Click click click away!