Shooting a Smart Phone Underwater

A photo essay comparing images shot on a smart phone with a variety of accessories and lighting tools.
By Brent Durand

In an age where most photos are viewed on a computer or smart phone screen, there's a new generation of affordable cameras that can hold their own against much more sophisticated systems. Of course, there's a time and a place where each camera system (compact, mirrorless, DSLR, or other) excels, and good reason to invest in the system that's right for you.

We grow as photographers when we problem solve for shifting variables - a concept I try to stress during photo workshops. Something as simple as passing clouds can pivot your entire wide-angle photo strategy during a dive. No arms and clamps? No problem. You can experiment with handleld light and really learn where the cone of light falls off in relation to your subject. Photography isn't just about some settings - it's about using a tool to capture the scene in front of you. The different tools do different things.

With the spirit of experimentation in mind, below are photos shot with a melange of photo gear during our recent Sri Lanka photo workshops. Hopefully this is some inspiration for all of us to get out there and experiment!

Photos shot using constant lighting techniques. Be sure to check out the What's in the Camera Bag feature where I discuss this gear in more detail.

 

A diver hovers below a cloud of fish on the Car Wreck in Sri Lanka. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UWL-09F Wide-Angle lens  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

A tractor sits overturned on the Medhufaru Wreck in Sri Lanka. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UWL-09F Wide-Angle lens  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

A moray eel peers at the photographer. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

Macro time! Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UCL-06LF Diopter  |  Kraken Weefine Ring Light

 

 

Colors abound on the Car Wreck. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UWL-09F Wide-Angle lens  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

Even the dive guide can't help but film some video on the Perseus shipwreck in Sri Lanka. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UWL-09F Wide-Angle lens  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

It pays look search the nooks and crannies of the Car Wreck for colorful subjects. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

A lionfish drifts back and forth in surge during a dive on the Lotus Barge wreck. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  2x Kraken Hydra 5000 lights

 

Distortion can create a fun effect when used sparingly. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UCL-06LF Diopter  |  Kraken Weefine Ring Light

 

Sometimes it's nice to step back and enjoy the big picture. Photo: Brent Durand

iPhone 6s+ in Kraken Smart Phone Housing  |  Fantasea UWL-09F Wide-Angle lens

 

Be sure to read these features for more info on the gear in this article.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is a writer for the Underwater Photography Guide, an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

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