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Underwater mermaid photography -- tips, tricks, and how-tos

Underwater mermaid photography -- tips, tricks, and how-tos
You have to be very quiet, careful, and lucky to get a photo of a real live mermaid, but when it's a photograph, what you see is what's there. It creates its own realism in a way that digital art simply cannot duplicate. It's no longer a question of whether mermaids are real or not. It's a question of whether you believe the mermaids are real.

Does the idea of photographing real mermaids appeal to you? Wondering what kind of camera to buy to capture such rare images? Convinced that underwater photography is only for professionals with expensive equipment? A simple solution is with snorkel photography. Even if you are not a professional photographer, snorkel photography can be enjoyable and useful as a is cheap, safe, and fun hobby for anyone!

Get started with underwater photography while snorkeling

If you want to take photos underwater while snorkeling, you will need to choose a decent camera, know how to snorkel, and learn about solving some of the main problems with underwater photography. You also need to manage snorkel gear including flippers. This will leave your hands free to manage the camera.

Basic equipment and accessories for underwater photography includes:

  • An underwater camera.
  • Snorkeling gear: mask, snorkel and flippers. You need to be able to see and move around easily underwater.
  • Spare batteries and spare SD card so that you don't run out or space or power, or in case water damages the first one.
  • A fine towel or cloth to wipe off the inside of the camera bag. Condensation will make it hard to take photos, and will gradually accumulate as you take the camera in and out of the bag. Wipe as you go along.
  • A lanyard to hang the camera around your neck or tie it to a wrist. This will leave your hands free while swimming.

Underwater photography tips

Choose an underwater camera

No camera is completely waterproof. Instead, underwater cameras are designed to cope with pressure. They come with a special casing designed to keep them dry.

A standard point and shoot underwater camera generally comes with a special thick plastic case, either a bag type or a rigid clear plastic casing.

A more expensive underwater camera will come with a special plastic and metal case, but it is probably more than needed for a casual swimmer taking underwater photos of a mermaid. Also, be aware that the camera itself probably isn't waterproof, just the case. The case is specially fitted to the camera, and will usually cost upwards of $500.

The cheapest possible underwater camera is a normal camera or even a disposable camera wrapped in a clear plastic bag. Zipper type bags are best to use. This is an excellent way to turn a cheap disposable camera into an underwater camera. Use a sturdy new bag for each photo shot, and check that the area over the lens is clear. If the bag gets scuffed and cloudy, switch it out for a fresh one.

Underwater mermaid videos

While you can take underwater mermaid videos with an action camera, sometimes it can be difficult to find an editor that will work with your specific computer. Do your research, and use whatever will work on your computer.

Photo shoot locations

There aren't a lot of options for an underwater photo shoot, frankly. If you plan to travel, consider a visit to the nearest body of water.

Note: Keep in mind that many pools do not allow the use of a tail while swimming. Check before you go.


Underwater mermaid photography

Visibility -- how far you can see clearly -- is a huge problem underwater. The more sediment floating around, the smaller the distance you and the camera can see. If the sediment is stirred up, visibility will be a bare few meters.

There is the risk of backscatter -- when the sediment particles reflect light back at you. This makes flash useless as well.

The top five meters of water are the best for photography. The light is overall brighter. The deeper you go in the water, the more the colours of the light spectrum get filtered out by water. Red light will be filtered out as you go down.


Underwater mermaid photography

Another major issue with underwater photography is movement. The water is moving, the water moves you while you are taking photos, the mermaid is being moved, and random fish and plants will move through the photo area. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take as many photos as possible, and sort out the discards later.

A sharp focus on the subject is necessary for the photo to be worthwhile. For added interest, a photo that has varying focus -- sharp on the mermaid, vague and fuzzy on the background -- can also be effective. While underwater using a point and shoot camera, you won't be able to fiddle with the focus very much. Set it and forget it.

Photo composition

This is fairly standard for any photo: be sure your photo is well balanced, following the rule of thirds, well lit, and in focus on the right place. A lot of that can be done while editing photos later though. The important thing with underwater photography is to get the entire mermaid into the picture. You can always crop the image later.

Post-photoshoot editing

Underwater mermaid photography

The more water between the camera lens, the mermaid, and the light source (usually the surface), the less of the red spectrum makes it into your photo. This leads to washed out, mostly blue photographs. Fortunately, this is something that can be fixed with photo editor software or apps once the photoshoot is done.

A photo editor is one that lets you tweak and adjust the elements of a photo -- contrast, colour, size, and such. Some editors are better than others, and they can vary by ease of use, speed and size, cost (though many are free), and simply the quality of the settings when it adjusts your images. The options needed for underwater photography are:

Again, use whatever photo editor will work on your computer.

Tealmermaid's Treasure Grotto