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How to Take Gorgeous Underwater Snorkeling Photos

Have you ever gone snorkeling before and seen some really beautiful fish? Did you get a chance to take a picture of any of them? Chances are, you probably didn’t but, even if you did, they might not be the best quality photos. Taking photos underwater is a little different than a regular photo, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take some amazing snorkeling photos! This article will help you understand what it takes to snap vibrant, eye-catching photos of all the fish and creatures you’ll enjoy seeing while snorkeling!

Aquatic Pictures

When it comes to taking pictures underwater, there are many new factors to consider. One very important thing to keep in mind is that the water itself will affect your photos. Most photos shot underwater will actually have minimal amounts of color. This is because the density of water causes light to travel differently underwater than it would above the surface. Because you’re also underwater, you need to ensure that whatever you are using as a camera is inside a waterproof case to prevent damage.

What Goes into Excellent Photos

Just like regular photography above the surface, there are many factors that influence how a picture will turn out. Your equipment, shooting technique, and the snorkeling environment are the most impactful. Here’s how each affects your photos and how to make the most of them while snorkeling:


The quality of your camera used to matter a lot a few years ago, but today, most smartphones have cameras powerful enough to take beautiful, high-resolution images. That isn’t to say that using a top-of-the-line camera setup won’t drastically improve the quality of your photos but, unless you’re a photographer, you might not notice huge differences right away.

Either way, you’ll need to find something to function as a camera. You can certainly use your smartphone while you snorkel, but a decent-quality digital camera will likely do the job much better. Considering that you’ll need a waterproof case for your camera, a digital camera is probably easier to use.

Digital cameras that have waterproof cases allow you nearly full functionality of the camera while preventing any water damage. Something like a smartphone is designed as a phone first and camera second, meaning you simply won’t have the same flexibility and functionality of an actual camera underwater.

Understanding the Environment

Likely the biggest factor in producing beautiful photos is the shooting environment when you are snorkeling. Although most water you’ll find around Maui is ultra-clear, it doesn’t change the fact that it is water, which inherently has a higher density than air.

Because water is heavier than air, it affects how light travels through it. When trying to take photos underwater, the biggest thing you’ll notice is that color is lacking. While you can’t change water’s density, you can improve the lighting situation to produce better color in your photos.

Another element of water is how it is always moving. When you are snorkeling, you’ll be floating around the surface, but you’ll still shift around based on waves and tides that hit you. Movement is certainly something that can affect photo quality by causing them to be blurry. Because of this, you’ll have to take special care to ensure your camera is remaining steady despite the motion of the ocean.

Shooting Tips

Now that you know that water certainly affects how your photos turn out, you can take steps to prevent any negative effects. One of the biggest things about the ocean is that it is dark. When taking snorkeling photos, you’ll need to rely almost entirely on natural light from the sun.

This means that you’ll need to move around and perhaps dive a little bit to get a better angle with better natural sunlight. You can use a fancy light known as a strobe, but they’re fairly expensive and not really worth the effort for snorkeling.

In order to really get some great pictures, you’ll have to leave the water’s surface when you snorkel. You’re restricted to one point of view there, but you can see much more if you dive down a few feet. Don’t forget that you will still need to keep your camera steady, so this might take some practice to perfect while snorkeling!

Software Editing

Underwater photos are naturally fairly dark, although some do have some great natural lighting. This means that many people opt for software editing to enhance the color and brightness of their snorkeling photos.

Use of software will allow you to draw attention to and highlight details in your photos. Even though you were able to see an awesome fish when you took the photo, it might be a little too dark to see. You can use editing to brighten the photo and make the fish come to life!

Although editing might seem like cheating, it’s the best way to enhance your photos to match the visual you had when you were actually there! You aren’t creating anything that isn’t real. Sometimes a camera just needs extra assistance to create images that actually represent reality!

Plan Your Snorkeling Adventure!

Snorkeling is one of the best ways to have a fun outdoor adventure with the whole family! There are so many incredible sights to see and experience. Many of the vibrant tropical fish and majestic sea creatures found in Maui can’t be seen anywhere else!

South Maui offers some of the best snorkeling destinations in the entire world! Having a memory of the experience is one thing, but having a physical photo to look at and remind you exactly what you saw is the best way to remember.

Taking photos underwater is quite different from snapping pictures above the surface, but you’ll still need to pay attention to your camera, the underwater environment, and your shooting technique in order to produce beautiful snorkeling photos!

If you want to enjoy snorkeling in the best way possible, you need to plan a trip to South Maui this upcoming summer! Many others are sure to realize just how fun snorkeling is, so you won’t want to miss out! Check out some awesome snorkeling tour packages available from Kai Kanani!