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Photographing Sharks – Shark Diving Tips

oceanic whitetip shark diving silouhette

Photographing Sharks

All of our shark diving expeditions are done in warm, calm, crystal clear water and offer incredible opportunities for the underwater photographer. Whether you’ll be diving with a point and shoot or a full DSLR rig with strobes, here are a few pointers to keep in mind while photographing sharks.

Selecting your equipment.

If you have a choice, pick the widest angle lens you can get on your camera and into your housing for photographing sharks. The key to most underwater photography is to get as close as possible to your subject. When photographing large animals such as sharks, this means getting close and going wide. The closer you are, the less water there is between the shark and your cameras sensor, which means less of a blue haze. In order to get close and capture the whole shark, wide angle is a necessity. Otherwise, many photos will have cut of tails or faces, which can be extremely frustrating and ruin an otherwise amazing photo.

Use external flashes.

Strobes will help to add color back into your photos and eliminate that blue haze that plagues underwater images. It will help especially when photographing sharks that move quickly. It will also fill in shadows and allow the photographer to capture images at higher shutter speeds, resulting in crisp detail. Most of our dives are shallow and full of ambient light, so it is possible to get great images without strobes. However, when the clouds roll over, you’ll appreciate strobes if you have them.

Stay calm and quiet at all times.

No one ever captured the perfect shot chasing after a shark. Your best bet is to stay calm, stay put, and keep patient. Sharks tend to be more comfortable when divers are more comfortable. Conversely, they seem to get fidgety and agitated when divers are as well. If you stay calm, you’ll find that the sharks come right up to your camera, time and time again and photographing sharks will be much easier.

No one ever captured the perfect shot chasing after a shark. Your best bet is to stay calm, stay put, and keep patient.

Look around at all times.

Sometimes when photographing sharks, the best picture is the one right behind you. Divers are warned not to focus too much on their camera settings and viewfinders while in the water. You have to remember that you are on a shark dive, surrounded by very large, and very capable predators. Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of all the sharks around you. If you see a great shot approaching, take a quick glance all around to make sure there isn’t another shark much closer to the back of your head.

Address any camera issues on the surface.

If you can’t switch your settings or solve a problem with you camera in less than 10 seconds, you should stop messing with it. If it’s truly a problem that needs to be addressed, signal the divemaster that you’re going to surface and get back to the boat nice and slowly. Once on the surface, there will be a fresh water rinse and towels available to wipe down your camera. Once the problem is solved, you can let the boat crew know you’ll be heading back in, and they will assist you so you can get back to photograph and sharks

Prepare your camera for the next day.

Make sure you download your images to a computer or hard drive after each day of diving and photographing sharks. Start each day with a blank memory card and fresh set of batteries. Bring spare batteries if you have them. Review your photos and pick out the good images from the bad, and see if you can identify ways to improve your odds. The crew will be able to help you with this.

Enjoy the show while photographing sharks.

Don’t forget that you’re on an exotic vacation having amazing experiences with incredible animals underwater. Once in a while, consider dropping your camera down by your side and just take it all in. Sometimes we focus so much on photographing sharks, seeing everything through that tiny viewfinder, we miss out on the bigger picture.

The crew at Epic Diving have years of experience with both underwater video and photography. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have any questions about photographing sharks, or are looking for a few tips and pointers. We hope that all our guests are able to capture breathtaking images that they take home to share with friends and family. We want everyone out there to see that these sharks are beautiful and, if done with an experienced crew, can be seen up close without any threat to our safety.   Learn more about our shark dives.

8 Responses
  1. Great blog post and website redesign. We had a blast on the Tiger Expedition and can’t wait to join you guys with the Hammerheads! I have traveled, photographed and dove all over the world and haven’t been more impressed by another operator. Your level of professionalism, expertise and flexibility combined to insure an outstanding experience.

  2. shane

    Just got a new camera for my trip to Tiger Beach so very excited. Thanks for the underwater photography tips. I’ll definitely keep them in mind for my next shark dive with Epic Diving.

  3. Ally Smith

    Wow thats a GREAT Blog. So helpful and to be fair is relevant to many other aquatic beauties such as Dolphins … The best bit of advice .. Once in a while, consider dropping your camera down by your side and just take it all in

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