Tips on Underwater Photography while snorkeling on vacation

by Douglas Hoffman on August 7, 2021

With summer in full swing, lots of families are coming to Hawaii, and I have seen a variety of cameras and cell phones being used at the surface while snorkeling. Here are some commonsense tips. Spoiler alert they dont all have to do with the camera but have everything to do with you!

Tip one. Be aware of where you are as you snorkel. Enjoy the moment but don’t get lost in it. There is always surge or wave action that can possibly push people around and sometimes into the reef. Spiny urchins and live coral live on the reef so touching it is not a good idea.

Tip two. Make sure you have a proper fitted mask. Don’t buy one that you cant try on. So if you go to Cost Co and buy one as soon as you exit the store open the package and apply the mask to your face. Don’t put on strap. Just breath in through nose. There should be strong suction. If not, return the mask and go to a dive shop where you can try on many different kinds. Once you have a good fitting mask it needs to be defogged. If new use toothpaste not Gell. Apply inside and wipe around well. Rinse. Some people use lighters to gently burn off any residual film or manufacturing oil or residue on lenses. Then they apply toothpaste and wipe it around. Once done, the mask needs to be defogged prior to every use in water. A drop of baby shampoo works and just wipe it all around and rinse. Doing this prevents many problems from ever happening.

Tip 3 Once in the water and snorkeling with a camera remember, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be so involved you cant see a turtle swim up next to you.

Tip 4. Always keep the sun behind you when taking pictures. The results will be so much better. Doing this avoids lens flair and lets the ambient light illuminate your subject.

tip 5. Turtles are protected by law so do not approach them closer than 10 feet. If you hang out long enough chances are good that turtle does not care about the rule and will swim right to you. Should this happen to you enjoy the moment and just be sure not to block its patch. Give it space and it might just hang out for a few minutes. Never touch a turtle.

If interested a private underwater photography workshop check out the workshops offered on my site.