The Advantages and Disadvantages of Diving with a Photographer.

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By Jennie Brown, dive professional and long suffering Photographers buddy.

Just a small set up, we don't want to go crazy. Famous last words...

Two years ago whilst we were travelling in Asia, my wonderful buddy, who is also my boyfriend decided he wanted to upgrade his camera. He’s always been into photography, but he wanted to step things up just a little bit, “I don’t want to go mad.” he said, “I just want sharper photos.”

So off we trot to the shops to buy a new camera and housing…

We spent the next two weeks diving in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and we were both completely blown away. The diving was amazing and the photographic opportunities endless. John took some fabulous shots and the images were sharp as a knife.

“I’m thinking about getting a strobe.” he casually drops into the conversation towards the end of our trip. “I don’t want to go over the top,” he says “but the photos would be so much better if I could get more light control….”

So back on the mainland, off we go to the shops again and purchase a strobe.. So sharper pictures- check, better light source- check, oh and did I mention the need to buy a macro lense as well?

During  the rest of our travels we did some amazing dives and John’s patience with the camera controls, patience with the subjects of his shots, his untiring effort to improve his photography and his naturally good eye resulted in a fabulous collection of shots, two of which have since won competitions.

So what are the advantages of diving with a competition winning photographer?

1) Well firstly, I get a wonderful, personal collection of photographs of the trips we do together.

2) Most of said photos feature myself, which I am vain enough to admit I rather like.

3) It would be unquestionably wrong of me to leave John to take his prize holidays alone, so I get to tag along, more diving and holidays for me too (yey!)

Of course nothing comes without a price…

1) I am expected to reconfigure my dive kit for the sole purpose of ensuring it is pleasing to the camera’s lense “Eer, Jennie, would you mind moving that fluorescent orange whistle out of sight, it’s too bright and it’s over exposed in all of my photos…”

2)I spend 50% of my dive trying to understand all manner of directional hand signals, whilst trying to hover perfectly, yet dangerously close to some kind of poisonous bottom dwelling critter….

3) I am actively discouraged from obeying the number one rule of scuba (breathe continuously ) because I am regularly reprimanded for exhaling on what would have been the perfect shot!


Anyhow, I digress… John was literally over the moon to have won the annual diver call competition and as well as a trip to the Philippines,  his prize will include some of his pictures featuring in Diver magazine.

Once the news of the fantastic prize settled in, it dawned on him that what he really, really needed (needs he says, not wants… ) is a new set up, which will be better for wide angle as well as macro shots….

So next week, we are heading back to Sulawesi, with two cameras, two macro lenses, a wide angle lense and a camera rig that is so heavy, it could really do with a float arm, but we don’t want to go crazy…. he’ll get that another time :)

As for me, not content with being a model and getting bored waiting for my buddy while he just takes just one more shot of that seahorse, crab, nudi etc.. I have decided if I can’t beat him, I’ll join him. Mine is deliberately a very simple system, no special lenses, no strobe, for me this is just a bit of fun while I wait for John to be ready to swim on. Although someone I was speaking to recently drew a parallel between underwater photography and illegal drugs – you say to yourself, I just want to give it a try, it won’t lead to anything serious…. Next thing you know…

As a final thought, I asked John what his top five underwater photography tips would be and this is what he told me:

1) Good buoyancy

2) Know your camera

3) Get close to your subject

4) Patience

5) A good spotter and an amazing buddy (OK, so I added that one! )


Do you also want to earn money with your pictures? I submit photos to Shutterstock and Dreamstime!
My latest images for sale at Shutterstock:

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published on June 16, 2011 by jason
tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , category: photography

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