Filter photography has really come into it’s own with the advent of digital photography and the ability to white balance underwater. Although it has been used for a long time with digital video underwater, red filters and white balancing did not really become popular with still photographers until the early to mid 2000s. The use of a filter underwater allows the photographer to filter out some of the nasty blues and greens that dominate the colour spectrum deeper than 10 feet and bring back a warm colour balance along with a lot of contrast and typically a beautiful blue. Shooting with a Filter of any sort is actually quite easy, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Don’t Use Strobes – to get the most from a filter it’s best to use with natural light only
- Stay Shallow – as the shot will be illuminated with natural light, the best results are typically from 15 m (50ft) or shallower
- Keep the Sun Behind You – the key to illuminating the subject properly and getting the best colour is to have the sun helping
- Shoot Slightly Down- although this sounds like the opposite of what is drilled into new photographers (Shoot UP!) in natural light or filter photography shooting on a slightly downward angle helps
- Use manual white balance and re set it prior to shooting each new subject
- Concentrate on using a wide angle lens, this will provide the best potential for filters. Macro is best shot with strobes
That’s it! Now it’s just a case of getting your hands on some filters and a nice shallow dive site. Our friends over at Magic Filters provide the best and largest range of filters for underwater photographers so head on over to their website to have a look at their products.