10 Tips to Take Instagram-worthy Underwater Pictures from Your iPhone
You have thought about it for a long time, and one of the things on your bucket list is to take underwater photographs. You want to do that probably during your next trip to that beautiful tropical destination when snorkeling or at the bottom of the pool.
You may be wondering whether to use an underwater camera or your iPhone? Good news! Modern iPhones are fit for the job as recent models are water-resistant. To help you get ready for the adventure, we offer you tips to make the experience unforgettable.
Understand your iPhone’s Ability to Resist Water
When you checked out for its water resistance, you may have noticed a text on your iPhone, IP67, or IP68. This text has a meaning, and you need to know about it. Electronic device manufacturers define devices using Ingress Protection (IP) numbers. The combination indicates how a device is resistant to dust and water. The first number denotes dust resistance, while the last number denotes water or liquid resistance. In our case, 7 and 8 state water resistance. The numbers for water resistance range from 0-8 and devices are tested for at least 30 minutes underwater.
Prepare your Phone
Before you jump into the water for those underwater pictures, ensure your phone’s battery is on full charge. You don’t want your phone running out of charge while on a mission to take underwater shots. If you are likely to spend more time underwater, you can have a wireless power bank in hand to be safe.
You will also need the proper gear for an underwater photo session. Thus, get comfortable gear depending on your needs and safety requirements. Switch the phone to airplane mode and also ensure that the phone’s auto-lock is on Never. Do not forget to select the camera mode to use before jumping in. Set the camera on Portrait Mode as it works better underwater.
Get a Waterproof Mobile Case
Before you go under, you need to ensure that your phone will be protected from water. That is where a waterproof phone case comes in handy. Yes, modern iPhones can take underwater pictures, but you need to add extra protection to your device beforehand.
Your device may be water-resistant, but that does not equate to being waterproof. Having a waterproof case offers your iPhone underwater housing. At Seawag, you can get an iPhone 11 waterproof case or an Apple iPhone 12 waterproof case. Getting a waterproof case for swimming minimizes having to worry about damage. Those going underwater need to use clear phone cases for phone visibility.
Get Clip-on Lenses
A wide-angle lens enables you to capture underwater landscapes with no curved lines. They are best for creatures like turtles, sharks, and nicely lit coral reefs. The latest iPhone models have an Ultra-Wide lens, so there is no need to get another lens.
A fisheye lens can also come in handy underwater. It provides comprehensive coverage without getting far away from the subject. It also gives an incredible “barrel distortion” effect excellent for divers, schools of fish, or reefs. iOS camera apps can emulate the fisheye effect, but an actual fisheye lens is better. It is also smaller than the wide-angle lens.
Plan the Angles
This is especially important for professional photographers. They need to be creative and innovative with how subjects or models will appear. Planning will make it easier to execute shots. You can study the area underneath the sea or ocean to see the wreckage, slippery reefs, or aggressive marine life.
Best Ideas for Underwater Photography
Marine life: Under the sea creatures are fun to photograph, waiting to be discovered. Be part of their world. Get close to the subjects to achieve sharp images with color. You can get a filter for your external lens. It is also better if you don’t take shots only from above.
If you are a beginner, you might want to focus on creatures that move slowly or those that don’t move at all. Hermit crabs, sea urchins, and starfish will give you excellent and crisp shots. Experts can experiment more with fast-moving creatures like fish. Fast-moving creatures may result in blurry images, but you can use the Burst mode for better results.
Take an underwater selfie: Being underwater is a chance for you to shake up the standard selfie poses. You can create a unique underwater selfie for your next portrait and memories. Before going under, switch on your selfie camera. It is also better to work with relatively shallow water since it allows for more natural light. You can invest in a waterproof selfie stick.
Utilize the underwater patterns: Take advantage of the patterns below water like sand ripples and the sun’s refraction. You may want to look out for repetitive colors or unique angles to create the art. Always take multiple shots so you can delete the less appealing ones and keep the best.
The landscape: Use the underwater landscape to showcase your travels and adventure. It may be tricky to capture the landscape, but the results can turn out to be incredibly beautiful. The trick is to use the widest angle lens and use the most light as possible when capturing. If you point the camera toward the surface, you can photograph beautiful landscapes above or below.
It is not easy to have bright sunlight underwater as the amount of natural light is lesser. The closest you can have enough natural light is being in shallow water on a sunny day. The ideal time would be to take your pictures between 10 am to 2 pm. The sun is at its highest point during these hours, giving clear visibility.
You can bring with you a diving light to provide you with additional lighting. If the light is dim, you can choose to shoot toward the surface. You can get exciting shots when some of the subjects are visible right above you.
Capture using the Volume Buttons
Taking underwater photographs is challenging as the touch screen won’t function very well. That’s why you should opt for the volume buttons for your shutter. Practice being comfortable when using these buttons beforehand. If you have any other extra additions you may need to adjust, set them before going under.
Lock Focus or Exposure
You may have a more challenging time focusing. When you are underneath the water, it will be impossible to lock focus or exposure. You will need to predict conditions under the surface. Using distance to focus is a good idea. Before you go under, lock your device’s focus using the most distant object within the view of your frame. With that, you will have a better chance of taking sharp images.
In addition to taking underwater photos, you will need to edit them afterward properly. Some aspects and issues can only be fixed and corrected later. You can do a quick edit with your iPhone using apps like Lightroom mobile or Photoshop Express. On a desktop, you can use Adobe Lightroom.
To edit your photos:
Warm-up, cool shots: Taking photographs underwater results in images that have cool tones. Photos will typically have green or blue hues due to the refraction of light. The pictures may be beautiful, but you may want to give them warmer tones. Use the temperature slider on your iPhone to attain that warm look.
Increase the brightness or exposure: Your phone’s editing app has an exposure or brightness slider. It will help you bring up some light, especially for rather dark shots. However, this editing tactic should be done moderately because increasing the exposure too much can take away the full effect on a photo. Instead, add the right amount of brightness such that the scenes are recognizable. You also need to beware that underwater scenes need to be dark.
Increase the saturation: Brighter light means more accurate colors. Being underwater makes this a bit challenging. Since you will not have enough light underwater, you may need to increase the saturation for images. With Adobe Lightroom, the individual color saturation can be altered to make a photo appear more realistic. If you do not have the app, use the one on your phone. Any basic photo editor can increase photo saturation.
Increase the contrast and sharpness: To give subjects more definition and shape, you can increase the contrast. You can amp up the shadows. That way, you add more depth and dimension. Close-up angles like fish eyes, scales, and marine life patterns can be more fascinating by increasing the sharpness.
Underwater photography is a top way you can capture your favorite water moments. However, it is not just about going into the water and taking the shots. To attain the best overall photos, you need knowledge, prepare well, and have experience editing apps. With our essential tips and insights above, we believe you are ready for your next shoot underwater.