It’s not enough just to take pretty pictures of fish or coral. Sure, for most underwater photographers this is the primary driving force, however those of us regularly producing content for print or web advertising this  sometimes becomes secondary to creating shots that also work well ‘selling’ an ideal.

Words and pictures

In my particular case this means always having half a mind on taking a picture that can be used with logos and words taking centre stage and the picture providing the backdrop.

So sometimes if the image has too strong a design element then it can compete unfairly with the message.

 

Perfect black background to place text against for a blog post or article, but on its own, fairly undramatic.

Perfect black background to place text against for a blog post or article, but on its own, fairly undramatic.

 

What may well look great displayed on its own or printed out for your wall will look wrong if its used as a backdrop for an advert.

 

 

This shot which has no specific focal point and is just a palette of blues and is looking up through the surface of the water would be well used as a relatively unconficting backdrop to a bunch of words or logos showing a general underwater image.

This shot which has no specific focal point and is just a palette of blues and is looking up through the surface of the water would be well used as a relatively unconficting backdrop to a bunch of words or logos showing a general underwater image.

 

Pictures used for backdrops and ads need to support and not swamp the main subject, which is often the more communicative elements i.e. the words!

And more and more these days lots of us are writing our own blogs and articles, and producing pictures for flyers and posters for our dive clubs and organisations.

So if you find a great subject then of course you should try and get the best shot of it that you can, maybe it will turn out to be a competition winner who knows? but also take some shots allowing space for words or maybe just a generic scene that doesn’t necessarily have a fixed focus of interest.

 

This was from a collection of shots where I had been shooting sunset splits and this one had a wonky horizon and a more abstract middle and top section, perfect to use for words as a background.

This was from a collection of shots where I had been shooting sunset splits and this one had a wonky horizon and a more abstract middle and top section, perfect to use for words as a background.

 

A shot that got a lot of feedback on social media, and I thought evocative of a diving scenario that "sells' the idea of a diving holiday

A shot that got a lot of feedback on social media, and I thought evocative of a diving scenario that “sells’ the idea of a diving holiday

It’s not a competition

 

I recently judged a competition for BSoUP, their annual Excellence Portfolio, and the standard as expected was very high, and it would be a great shame to overlay any of the great shots on display with distracting words.

When on a dive though, maybe when you get your intended picture in the bag, then take some more shots for use as backgrounds. Or maybe you have a particular idea in mind that a shot will support.

 

Another people picture but this time with direct engagement with the camera, showing people having fun whilst diving....

Another people picture but this time with direct engagement with the camera, showing people having fun whilst diving….

Getting back to the first paragraph though and something I find myself shooting a lot, are pictures that sell the whole idea of diving as a holiday and as a past time that we all love.

 

Good intentions

 

I work for a Travel Company and we are in the business of selling holidays so I try and take shots that  serve the purpose of showing the lifestyle and fun that diving engenders in us all that we can use for showcasing diving.

So I’ve illustrated this post with all those pictures that I feel fall into those categories and outside of the regular fish pictures, or those shots that showcase the fun we all have whilst diving.

 

 

A shot that illustrates diving and underwater photography, strongly graphic enough to stand on its own but perfect to sell the idea of diving.

A shot that illustrates diving and underwater photography, strongly graphic enough to stand on its own but perfect to sell the idea of diving.

 

 

If you’re new to underwater photography and you’d like to get to grips with underwater shooting, I run workshops to the Red Sea and around the world, and to date I’ve conducted nearly fifty trips like this, and am really well versed in what beginners need to progress to the next level.
I don’t just work with first timers though and a lot beginners have become regulars and come on the trips for the fun, and the special itineraries that I run.

Here are some useful links for beginners that folk have found useful in the past.

Starting out in Underwater Photography

Available Light Underwater Photography

Underwater Flash Photography

Hope you’ve found this all useful and please don;t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help or advice.

Duxy