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How Can I Take Pictures While Snorkeling?

How Can I Take Pictures While Snorkeling?

Posted by David Morgan on May 27th 2022

Underwater pictures are one of the best souvenirs you can bring back from a snorkeling adventure. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or carry a bunch of heavy equipment to get clear, sharp images of the sea.

Capturing the beauty of the ocean is easier than you may think. While a picture may be worth 1000 words, a photo under the sea is so much more.

Choose the Right Camera

The last thing you want underwater is a complicated camera. You’re not going to get the sea turtles to hold still or the sting rays to pause so you can adjust your camera settings.

Choose the one that best fits your budget, needs, and preference.

  • The Underwater Camera - You can buy a simple underwater camera anywhere you find snorkel gear or sporting goods. This should be a simple point-and-shoot camera that is easy to operate.
  • Waterproof Case - If you already have a digital camera you’re comfortable using, you can get a waterproof case to be able to use it underwater. Typically, this option allows you to go deeper, but it is also heavier than a point-and-shoot underwater camera.
  • Go-Pro - These are ideal for taking videos underwater. While they can also take still photos, that requires a bit of practice because most snorkelers attach them to their snorkel. This means that unless you’re looking straight down, you would likely get the surface or water line instead of the beautiful underwater oasis.
  • Smartphone - The recent technology in smartphones takes some pretty incredible photos. However, it’s important to have your phone in a waterproof case. Even if it is advertised as waterproof, that does not apply to saltwater, which can still damage your phone.

Test Out the Camera

Take your camera options to the tub, sink or local pool to try them out before your vacation. Study the camera settings and ensure you know how to use them efficiently.

This will save time once you’re in the water and the action has started so you are ready to snap amazing photos when it’s time to go.

  • Use the Right Light - Water is denser than air, and absorbs light differently. To get the best and most vibrant colors in your photos, you need to use light to your advantage. Go snorkeling in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky. Position yourself with your back to the sun to get the best natural light underneath the surface.
  • Get Closer - Snorkeling at the surface is nice, but diving deeper produces the best photos. You can’t simply use the zoom feature underwater. Because of the density in the water, it won’t come out sharp. Instead, practice duck diving and learn how to hold your breath while swimming smoothly and quietly underneath the surface. Once you’ve mastered this technique, find the nearest coral reef and dive 6-10 feet below the surface to snap an amazing photo up close.
  • Hold the Camera Steady - Try holding the camera as close to the body as possible, and use your flippers to stay in balance. You can also use an underwater camera tray, which can help with stability.
  • Enjoy the Edit - Chances are, every underwater photo you see on the internet has been edited. Some basic and easy editing can bring out the true beauty in your photos.


  • Too Many Particles In Your Photo?

If it looks like it’s snowing in your photos, that’s because there were too many particles in the water and it was murky. Sometimes, you can’t control this. There are several factors that create more particles in the water. Remember that falling tide pulls the water back (bringing sand and gunk with it), while incoming tide brings fresh water and better clarity.

  • Everything Looks Blue!

There are a couple of things you can do to bring out the true vibrancy in your photos. First, turn off the flash – you won’t need it and it usually makes things worse. Next, try using a red filter if possible. This will cancel out some of the strong blue colors and create a more balanced photo.

  • Getting Only Blurry Photos?

Be sure that you’re not zooming in, and that you’re keeping the camera steady. Try experimenting with “burst mode” or taking several dozen pictures with one click. Typically, this uses an extremely short shutter speed, which can create photos that are crisp and clear, even if the fish are moving quickly. If your photos are still blurry, try focusing on a static object and adjust your settings

Underwater photography can be physically demanding and mentally frustrating. It takes some practice to get those amazing photos you’ve seen online.

Be sure you bring plenty of patience with you and don’t give up. It may take hundreds of pictures to get the one that proves your efforts were totally worth it.