6 TIPS FOR CREATING FUN, UNDERWATER PORTRAITS WITH YOUR TOUGH

BY OLYMPUS VISIONARY LAURA HICKS
Shot with the TOUGH TG-3

It’s no secret that I absolutely love the Olympus Tough camera system. In fact, years ago the TG-2 caught my attention years ago with its super macro functionality as well as the camera’s underwater shooting capability. Years later, the Olympus Tough cameras still have an unmatched diversity and flexibility.

Capturing fun underwater imagery is as easy as 2, 3, 4—the Olympus TG-2, TG-3, TG-4, and TG-5, that is. Just follow these simple steps to creating some underwater portraits worthy of hanging on your walls or sharing with your friends.

1  

SET THE CAMERA TO THE UNDERWATER, WIDE ANGLE MODE.

I’m not a water person. I’m not good about keeping my eyes open while being under water. That’s why I love using a wide angle when taking portraits in a pool because it allows me to stay above water while photographing below water. Also, using a wider angle allows for cropping the image in post production if it is a little crooked or my subject wasn’t exactly where I wanted them to be. In addition to that, using the underwater mode allows the camera to adjust for the blue hues in the water.

Shot with the TG-4, F2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO 100

Shot with the TOUGH TG-4, F2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO 100

2  

DIRECT YOUR SUBJECT

Underwater images work best if you direct your subject before they hit the water. I like to choose about 7 “poses” prior to starting the session. Here’s a list of what I try to accomplish:

  • Dive into pool (either head first or feet first depending on what the subject is comfortable with).
  • Jump into the pool and strike a pose.
  • Jump into the pool and glide towards the camera.
  • Touch the bottom of the pool or do a flip if there is enough room.
  • Swimming towards me.
  • Blowing bubbles at the camera.
  • Silly face at the camera.

After doing these poses, I like to get my subject to play around with me and the camera. I have even been know to give my camera to the person and let them do some underwater selfies.

3  

THE CLEARER THE WATER, THE BETTER THE SHOT.

I like to make sure the pool water is clean and clear. I also like pools that are not over chlorinated or over salted. Too much chlorine or salt tends to make the water cloudier. This, in turn, makes the images cloudier and increases the amount of post production work in order to make the images look better.

4  

THE CLOSER YOUR SUBJECT, THE LESS COLOR CAST.

I like to make sure the pool water is clean and clear. I also like pools that are not over chlorinated or over salted. Too much chlorine or salt tends to make the water cloudier. This, in turn, makes the images cloudier and increases the amount of post production work in order to make the images look better.

Shot with the TOUGH TG-3, F2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO 100

Shot with the TG-3, F8, 1/640, ISO 100

5  

POST PRODUCTION ADDS TO THE MYSTIQUE OF THE PORTRAIT.

When I do photograph a subject that is further away or serious, I like to edit my images with a cyan or black and white tone to add to the mystery or drama of the image. All of my underwater pool portraits have included some post procession in Lightroom or Photoshop in order to correct for the color cast of the water if I keep my images in full color.

6  

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE FUN IMAGES THAT CAN BE CAPRURED JUST OUTSIDE THE POOL BEFORE THE SUBEJCT JUMPS IN.

Kids love to see images of themselves “dunking” a basketball in a pool hoop, jumping in from the side, or seeing their face right before impact.

Shot with the TOUGH TG-4. F8, 1/500 sec, ISO 250

Capture your stories.