Many scuba divers who take up underwater photography buy an underwater housing for a land camera that they already own. This is a good idea because it means you only need to invest in one new piece of equipment to start your new hobby. Plus you already know how to use it right?! However a common misconception is thinking that your camera will work the same way underwater as it does on land. Unfortunately this is not the case, mostly because cameras are set up to work in AIR not water. Light behaves differently underwater and because of this you will need to help the camera ‘see’ better. Plus if you want to take photos of fish or any marine life you have just chosen to become a wildlife photographer…….. underwater!
Taking a photo with a housed compact camera with any pixel size will result in the photo lacking colour at any depth greater than 10ft. Even if you can see colour around you the camera will not be able to capture the image as you see it. The deeper you go the worse it gets.
If you want to take photos that have a good light balance and good colour then you will need to either use a flash attachment or manually set the white balance on your camera. (see other tip) Basically speaking, underwater, you need to tell your camera what ‘white is’ so it can re-calibrate the colours for you. (manual white balance, MWB) Flashes can be an expensive addition so if you can master MWB then you can attain shots like the one here. (above)