Whilst having every intention of enjoying a photo dive, do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you?

• An escorted dive around a route with little time to stop, concentrate and take photos.

• Your dive group, constantly changing dive sites, never returning to the same place twice.

• Reef dives, which start in 20 m or more, leave you little bottom time to find subjects and take pictures!

Would you appreciate the chance to drop below the dive boat with your buddy for a slow and relaxing dive, looking for subjects to practise your new found photo skills on?

Whilst many resorts and liveaboards are sympathetic to the needs of photographers, we all have to appreciate that they do have a business to run which caters for the majority and in most locations this represents newcomers and non-photographers, who may not care to stay in one place for a long time or to remain at a particular dive site for the whole day.

If you find yourselves in this situation and have difficulty getting your 'mindset' into your underwater photography, then I can offer you the consolation of knowing that it's always difficult to apply your mind. In these circumstances, try not to get too frustrated. If this scenario is your reality, then you may have a few decisions to make.

I would like you to consider and answer the following questions:

• Are you a diver first and foremost who likes to take a camera along on the dive to record what you might see? Or

• Is your primary objective to improve your underwater photography and take great pictures?

If the first question rings true and your primary aim is to dive and see many new dive sites then I would encourage you to continue diving with your group, accept the restrictions and enjoy your photography the best way you can. Appreciate though that you may not have the time or opportunity to give a subject the photographic attention it deserves.

For many readers the second scenario may be nearer to the mark, but try to avoid frustration when:

• Your dive leader and rest of the group go just a little too fast along the reef for your liking.

• You get left behind a little way, have a pang of guilt, abandon your subject and swim off to catch up with the group.

If the latter two strike a chord and you are enthusiastic to improve your pictures, then you need to consider the prospect of changing the way in which you dive to a method more suitable for underwater photography.

Fundamentally, it's a change of mindset.

All over the world, numerous diving trips cater exclusively for the needs of enthusiastic underwater photographers of all standards. The manner in which the diving is conducted, be it shore-based or a liveaboard, provides the conditions, stimulus and environment for photographers to do their thing. Only by creating the right environment will you fulfill your potential and consistently perform at your best.

The solution could be nothing more than:

• Hiring a boat to visit a particular photogenic dive site, or

• Joining a photo group who dive together, or

• Signing up for a dedicated photographic workshop.

Every aspect of consistent photography requires a clear and calm un-hurried state of mind to develop skills so that real improvement can begin.

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