Underwater Macro Photography Tips

Last Updated on April 20, 2021

close up of blue, purple, and green coral

If you are looking to get into underwater macro photography you are about to begin an adventure! It is a new skill that takes some time to learn and isn’t always the easiest but it can really pay off.

The first step to underwater macro photography is getting your gear and finding your subject. You want to find something interesting that you can get close up shots of like a coral reef, seahorses, or other sea creatures. If you are not sure what is around your area there are plenty of resources online for beginners on the best subjects for underwater macro photography, including here on The Main Museum.

What Gear Do You Need?

Underwater macro photography is different than your regular photography as you are going to want a few specific types of gear. The first thing you should invest in is a diving mask. You want to be able to have the water close to your face so that you can focus in on the subject. There are many different types of masks out there for you but we recommend either an open-toed or full face mask for ease of use and comfort of movement.

When it comes to getting a camera for underwater macro photography there are three choices: disposable, point-and-shoot, and DSLR. Each one has its benefits so we recommend you pick the one that is best suited for you. For disposable cameras with underwater macro photography we recommend that you buy the cheapest ones possible so if they break during your shoot or get water in them it isn’t a huge loss.

For point-and-shoot cameras you want to go for a waterproof one. Most of these will be able to go up to 40 feet underwater which is great for most diving situations.

If you have a bigger budget you may want to invest in a DSLR camera. These are bigger for sure but they can usually be taken down up to 100 feet underwater and give a better quality picture.

You will also need an underwater macro lens. This will be able to focus in on your subject which let you capture the beautiful details. There are two options here: a dedicated macro lens or a converter. A converter is relatively cheap and will give you some great photos but it doesn’t give you the same quality as a dedicated lens.

What Camera Settings Do You Use?

If you are using a DSLR camera you can always set it in manual mode and just adjust the aperture, shutter speed and ISO until you get the perfect shot. There is a lot of trial and error involved so make sure to do practice shots in advance and keep good notes.

If you are using a point-and-shoot camera you can buy an underwater case which will allow you to set the camera to auto and take some great photos without much work.

What Subjects Are Best For Underwater Macro Photography

Underwater macro photography is all about capturing the beauty and details of your subject.

One of the best subjects for underwater macro photography is coral reefs. The color and shapes are gorgeous and perfect for underwater photographers.

Another great subject for underwater macro photography is seahorses. These little creatures hide in small crevices and are really fun to photograph.

For macro photography of marine life you can also try for sea stars and nudibranchs, which are small creatures that attach themselves to the underside of marine life. The best place to photograph these is on coral reefs, obviously.

For other subjects that you can get some great underwater pictures of like shells, leaves, and other aquatic plants.

Bottom Line

In this guide we have introduced you to some basic tips for underwater macro photography. We hope that this article inspires you with wonderful underwater macro photography images! Why not share your underwater macro photography pictures with us or write in the comments section below?