Understanding your Underwater Camera Settings
F5.6, 1/25th, ISO 250
People seem to like to memorize settings, and use them all the time. I can understand that, sometimes there's so many other things to worry about. Strobes, buoyancy, air, no deco time, finding subjects.
But I hope I can convince you to take a different route. Instead of memorizing settings, try to understand your settings. Then you can adjust to different scenarios.
Let's look at the big three, F-stops, Shutter speed, and ISO.
Click on the blue headings for more detailed write-ups, and I'll give you some things to think about:
- How much depth of field do I really need?
- At what apertures in my lens the sharpest?
- Will the background look better if its blurred?
A small aperture was used for a narrow depth of field.
- Do I need to stop motion? Prevent camera shake? Motion blur?
- Do I want a blue background?
- How much grain can I handle?
- Am I willing to risk a blurry photo? A noisy photo is always better than a blurry photo, unless that was your creative intention.
Shooting in Low light
Shooting in low light is the most difficult, you must really understand the trade-offs between F-stop, Shutter speed and ISO to get the best shot.
Don't expect to understand all of these settings at once, it takes time to fully understand and process all the variables. But once you do, your underwater photography will be able to grow much further.