Nick Pelios Freediver, Creator
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When you are just getting started in UW photography things can get pretty hectic! Which camera to buy, what lens to use, which is the best color correction software and so forth. We've all been there and it was a mess until someone helped! Alchemy partner, Carlos Negrete, is a top notch creator, freediver & instructor. We asked him to shoot a Complete Guide video for us in order to make your life easier! Here's what he had to say.

Before Diving

Before jumping in the water, make sure you're  comfortable with your skills, that you have a  safety body, so you can focus only on your footage,
forget about the rest and enjoy the session.


First we need to understand how water  affects light, we have different effects. Refraction will make objects  appear much closer and bigger around 25 percent. We also have diffusion which  there are particles of organic material or plankton that always going to be in  the way between your subject and you. So, don't shoot too far from your object because there's going to be more diffusion in there.  

Loss Of Color

Whenever  light enters the water the colors are going to be absorbed in a  particular order - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The deeper we go the  colors are going to be taken so also don't forget if you get super far from your object, colors are gonna be lost as well. The only way to bring the colors back is gonna be with artificial lights or strobes


You need to get familiar with your camera,  understand how aperture works, iso, shutter speed and get familiar with it. If you cannot  control it on land,
forget about it underwater.  


There are different types of cameras like action cameras, point and shoots, DSLRs, mirrorless. They vary in price and weight. I recommend you start  diving with an action camera, get familiar with it, get familiar with underwater photography a little bit and as your skills, not only with the photos but also your diving skills, improve, you  can upgrade your camera and make the most of it.


We need to pick the right lens so, depending what  kind of photo and which objects we're gonna shoot, we're gonna pick the appropriate lens. For example,  if you're interested in shooting close-ups of small animals like nudibranch or small fish in  the coral, then you want to pick a macro lens. And in other case scenario you want to  shoot bigger animals for freedivers, you want to use a wide angle lens, that is going to allow you to fit them in the frame and let more light inside.


Talking about camera housings,  there are different materials manufacturers and brands. They vary, for example  acrylic, polycarbonate or aluminum. Basically what a housing do is keep your camera you  can keep your camera inside vacuum sealed and you should be able to operate all  your camera settings without a problem.  


Before going in the water, make sure your  o-rings are completely clean and lubed with the manufacturer's lubricant. Also check for  dust sand or any particles that can be inside the o-ring because this can cause you a flood and  then losing all your equipment.


Whenever you finish your session make sure you put your housing in a rinsing tank with your dome cover, so you avoid scratches, and in fresh water, you want to leave it  rinsing in fresh water and you want to press all the buttons to make sure the salt and the minerals  come out and avoid getting your buttons stuck.


Using software like photoshop, lightroom or  premiere pro, is gonna help you to edit and work on your footage after your session. The  more practice and the more hours you put in these software, the more tools you're gonna be able to  master and the better your footage is gonna become. So, spend a lot of time doing this. A little  pro tip, always shoot in raw and this is gonna help you to get more information in your  shots and make the most of it when you edit.


1. Always do a test shot before going in the water. This is gonna help you to know that you have  enough battery, enough memory card space and maybe sometimes
we even put the lid on the lens  so, it's nice to know before going in the water. 
2. Your free diving fins, especially carbon, are  gonna help you to stabilize your videos, these are gonna make super smooth movements and keep you
controlled your camera when you're diving. 
3. The closer you get to your subjects, the more  color, sharpness and contrast you will have. 
4. Whenever you review a shot  of a photo that you just take, instead of watching only the display, use your  histogram which is a scientific explanation on how how light was absorbed in that photo, use that  as a reference instead of your display, because then ... might seem that it's  okay but maybe it's overexposed or underexposed and you're not sure until you get home and open it in the computer so, using your histogram is better.
5. When you're approaching wildlife or  your subject or your free diving model, make sure you approach slowly and from your  level. This is gonna make a much better shot and  also make animals more comfortable.  Since we're freediving, we're not producing bubbles, we're not making  noise so, let's take advantage of that.
6. Composition is key, so play around with it, follow  rules and also break the rules. Get inspiration from your favorite photographers and  work on your own style,
it's all about enjoying.  

Find Out More About Carlos Negrete

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