Get Great Photos From Your Waterproof Camera
Get Great Photos from Your Waterproof Camera
Camera tips from parent photography coach
During our last beach vacation three years ago, I had a lot of fun taking photos in, around, and under water using disposable waterproof cameras. It was so great to capture the fun that Liam, almost three at the time, had in the water.
The disposable cameras were fine, but not great quality, and not that cheap either by the time you included the cost for getting film developed. Not seeing the results until weeks after our vacation was over was hard, too!
At that time, I decided that for our next vacation, I would purchase a waterproof camera. They are not that expensive! I went with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 with a floating wrist strap and small case. The waterproof camera was perfect for what I wanted.
I know that summer is basically over and, depending on your location and climate, you may not be heading for the beach any time soon. But here are my top 11 tips for getting great photos from your waterproof camera to inspire you to put one on your holiday gift list for next yearâ€™s summer fun!
1. Photograph your child underwater to capture and celebrate their abilities and build their confidence
Liam has always loved the water and learned to swim last year, but he kind of had to relearn this year after months with no practice. Daily swimming at summer camp for a couple of weeks did the trick, as did daily swimming while we were on vacation in Florida. I loved being able to take the camera underwater to capture and develop his growing confidence.
My approach to this was to make a big deal out of taking underwater photos. Liam was keen to show off, so I would ask him to swim underwater towards the camera. To capture more natural moments, you would have to go underwater yourself which I did not do.
2. Make it a fun game
After we got a few good shots that way, I also played around with moving backwards as he came towards the camera underwater so I had more opportunity for close-ups.
Youâ€™ll have to find the shooting approach that works best for your child when in the water. For a child whoâ€™s not as confident in the water yet, the same approach I usually take on land of de-emphasizing the camera would work well.
3. Take photos in the water as well as under it.
Waterproof cameras are not just for underwater photos. I loved being able to capture above-water moments like this one that show how much fun 2-year-old Jack was having without, you know, taking my DSLR or iPhone into the pool!
4. Shoot from above, if you can
Jack did this hilarious thing of floating on his back in his floatie like a displaced turtle! Love this shot I managed to capture by extending the camera out on top of him.
5. Jumping shots are the best!
My show-off son who usually â€śhates having his photo takenâ€ť was happy to jump into the pool over and over again while I took photos. Yes, we did several movies too. The trick is to position yourself fairly low, shooting upwards, to emphasize height. Do many takes, as plenty wonâ€™t come out.
6. Put your 2-year-old to work
Yes, thatâ€™s right, Jack took this photo of me. I love seeing how I look to him, smiling and happy. Jack needed a little coaching so that he did not put his finger in front of the lens, and we did end up with a few photos of discombobulated body parts but that was a small price to pay! Although, if it werenâ€™t for the floating wrist strap I never would have handed the camera over.
7. Your waterproof camera is also great for the beach.
I didnâ€™t actually ever take my DLSR to the beach on this vacation. It was a little crowded for me to feel like bothering with worrying about the salt, sand, and it getting stolen, and I knew that the waterproof camera would give me the most stress-free beach/camera experience. It was great to be able to pick up the camera with slightly wet and sandy hands and not worry about it.
8. On a crowded beach, get creative with how you fill the frame.
As I said, the beach was a little crowded to be photogenic, but strategic positioning can do wonders.
9. Practice underwater photos at the pool before heading to the ocean.
The waves at our beach were very calm but it still was helpful to practice an underwater photo technique at the pool before taking it to the beach.
10. Get the sun behind your subject if youâ€™re in direct sunlight.
The same tips from land apply at sea. Unless you are at sea in the shade of a building or tree at the end of the day, most likely youâ€™ll be in direct sun when you are in the water. Put the sun behind your subjects for more even light on their faces rather than the harsh shadows and squinting that results from direct sunlight. Here, the reflection of the sun in the water adds an extra touch of summer ambiance.
11. Hand your camera over to strangers so you can get in the photo with your kids.
A stranger actually offered to take this photo for us. And then he asked how I liked the camera. I think he wanted to try the camera! You can see that the direct sunlight on our faces is not ideal but I do like that we donâ€™t have buildings in the backgroundâ€¦ plus itâ€™s a photo! Of me! With my kids! In the water! Iâ€™m really not complaining!
Bonus tip: Edit your photos.
Yes, I edited all these photos on my iPhone using Snapseed and Camera+ for consistency with my other photos. You donâ€™t have to edit them like iPhone photos but a quick tweak of brightness and contrast or the use of a filter can give your photos a pop that is hard to get straight out of the camera.
Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick is a family photographer and photography coach for parents with Photosanity. A former architect and interior designer, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two boys Liam, age six, and Jack, age three.
Alethea is on a mission to help parents more fully experience the precious fleeting moments of their childrenâ€™s lives through photography. Find her on http://photosanity.com