Getting rid of the mess

A key to getting striking images underwater is to make sure your main subject stays in focus (attention wise) and keep other distracting elements to a minimum.

Some times I wonder if underwater photography is just about getting rid of all the other ‘mess’ you see underwater.

For the following shot of an Anemone fish in its respective anemone I had to isolate a lot of the surroundings by careful placement and angling of my camera.
Getting very close with a wide angle lens helps to separate the subject from its surroundings as you can turn down the power of your strobes significantly. Because the light falls off pretty drastically with the distance this helps to keep other parts of nearby coral and anemones in darkness thus helping to bring attention only to your subject.

f/22 1/40 sec 15 mm
Key take aways for this particular shot:
  • Turn strobes off and expose for a pleasant dark blue background
  • Get close and compose the image
  • Turn strobes on low and adjust position until foreground is lit as desired
  • Get a little bit closer (always)
  • Adjust strobe power and position accordingly

As one can see on the behind-the-scenes photo taken by Daniel Simonsen there were a descent amount of ‘other’ stuff going on around that particular anemone. Had I not gotten close enough a lot of the nearby coral and maybe even other fish (the horror!!) would have had a significant impact on the cleanliness of the images. Now it ONLY about the anemone and its resident fish!

Photo taken by Daniel Simonsen