Photo Body Angles

Continuing on from the topic of 'accessibility' and how important it is to make every effort to select subjects which can be (for want of a better word) got at! It is fact that the large majority of decent photo opportunities found on the reef are best shot at an eye level or upward camera angle. Over time a competent underwater photographer can learn how to adopt their body angle underwater to enable these preferable eye level and upward angles.

During my UK photo workshops, an aspect of my pool tuition is to help participants to discover these alternative camera angles for themselves. I take a shot, perhaps lying on my back or side and then encourage my client to do the same. The trick in being able to copy the shot is nothing to do with camera settings but has everything to do with adopting the same or similar camera angle as myself. Recently, one participant, a Padi instructor with over 700 dives to his credit, had difficulty getting into a number of positions, i.e. lying on his back, his side, flat on the swimming pool floor, etc. His response and reasons sparked a conversation. My instructor declared that he now realised that, to date, he had spent his entire dive career 'leaning to look cool underwater'. So simple but quite profound! He explained that to be a credible instructor and leader he needed to display perfect poise at all times. He had never attempted any of these positions before, not even whilst having fun and messing in a pool or the sea, and felt uncomfortable and clumsy attempting to replicate with a camera in hand. We set out to alter this way of thinking and within 10 minutes he had mastered all the awkward body angles I could throw at him and he ended our photo session lying on his back shooting through the under surface of the swimming pool towards the architecture of the ceiling above.

As a result of this realisation, I now build into my pool tuition an appreciation of several vital camera body angles to perfect underwater.

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