Underwater photography camera settings


Underwater photography can be hard at the best of times, let alone trying to get your settings right when your surroundings and light (if you’re using natural light like I do) change so quickly!

It took months of practise to find my own way of getting my settings in order so I thought I’d share for any budding underwater photographers out there who may be struggling a little.

My underwater camera settings:

  1. Shutter speed at least set to 200 (mine is usually 400). It gives you a sharper image from your moving subjects.

  2. F-stop is dependent on your light, full sunshine could be higher of course but on a cloudy day would be best at 1.8/2.8. In reality you could set it on auto if you’re starting out. I keep mine on 2.8 as I like shooting shallow DOP anyway.

  3. ISO I usually set to auto as light changes so quickly underwater, subtly too so having ISO on auto can help counteract these quick changes.

  4. My AF settings I usually have on AL Servo as my subject is usually moving rather rapidly and I struggle to stay still too!

The thing is, you will always have BAD photos from underwater shoots, especially if you’re shooting in a swimming pool, with a model with only natural light to guide you. I have a ton of them! Models pulling hilarious faces, poses that didn’t quite work out, blurry and unintentional shots (I have so many images of my feet underwater it’s absurd). So why complicate things further by trying to guess your settings every single shot?