Photography is a fantastic practice to help promote the need to save marine life – but aggressive photography, one that intrudes upon marine life’s welfare, can be detrimental to the oceans. Dr Richard Smith brings you 10 fantastic tips on photographing marine life

1. Pass on subjects that aren't easily accessible

It’s not worth destroying a habitat in order to get a shot: If it’s not accessible, then move on.

2. Remain Aware

Be aware of your surroundings when you shoot – be careful not to damage other marine life.

3. Anticipate the Shot

Rather than manipulating your subject, exercise patience and wait for the animal to move into a beautiful space. Learn its territory or preferred hiding spots to anticipate the shot.

4. Be Patient

Allow your subject to become accustomed to you before shooting. If they’re relaxed, they’re more likely perform natural behaviour, which always makes for the best images.

5. Don't Touch

Don’t touch or move your subject in any way. They are fragile and easily stressed. Besides, you’ll get better, natural images if they aren’t defensive.

6. Dim the Lights

Avoid bright focus lights. Marine animals are typically used to low-light conditions.

7. Be Prepared

Often as not, there will be only one opportunity to catch that moment of fleeting animal behaviour you’re after. Have your strobes set, your settings ready, and keep your wits about you.

8. Understand your Subject

Take time to learn about your subject. Read all you can, observe behaviour, and talk to local guides who know the species well.

9. Avoid Overkill

Don’t take too many shots. Be discerning about how you take your photographs, and spare the animal’s retinas.

10. Keep a Safe Distance

Back off from an animal that is becoming stressed and changing its behaviour.

Taken from Asian Diver’s DIVERAHOLIC, volume 145

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