I have mentioned this before, but I think it needs its own blog post together with some examples, because this is the single most important thing when it comes to over under photography. So what is the single most important tip for better over under photos? The secret is in the water, obviously :)!
The problem and the charm of over under photography is the fact that the photo is created in two different mediums. The upper half is air, which is usually sunny and bright and the lower half is water which absorbs much more light than air and is therefore always at least a little bit darker, not to mention less transparent, muddy, polluted…etc. Shooting 100% above or 100% underwater allows the GoPro camera to automatically adapt to the amount of light that is available. But with over under photos the camera has to consider both – the brighter upper half and the darker lower half. Even with big dynamic range of the new GoPro cameras this can be a problem. Apart from the light problem, to fill the photo with an interesting underwater scene you need the water to be as transparent as possible, so that the subject that you are photographing is clearly visible. If you remember just one tip for better over under photos, this should be it! Find the clearest water possible!
Clear water: No.1 tip for Better Over Under Photos
What’s the perfect water recipe, what kind of water is best for half half photography?
- Transparent – no mud, sand, algae…you want the water to be as clear as possible, a lake full of distilled water would be the best 🙂
- Bright (sea) bottom – even the clearest water becomes darker if it lies over the dark muddy bottom
- Shallow water – it is brighter than deep water.
So on one hand we have dark, muddy water on dark bottom and on the other hand we have transparent tropical sea on white sand bottom. Guess which one giver better photos:)?
I think all this is best explained with photo examples. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I don’t have examples of really dirty water over really dark bottom, but here we go (all photos are made using our Split dome port and GoPro Hero 4 Silver):
So an extra tip for this tutorial would be – go close! Try to put less water between your Split dome and the subject you are photographing.
In one of the next tutorials we will take a look at how to improve your over under photos with a few adjustments in Photoshop. If you want to know all the secrets to perfecting your half half photography then you should check out our Ultimate over under photography guide ebook.
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