Small compact type underwater cameras are cheap and plentiful. Using these to experiment with underwater photography makes alot of sense as they are quite rugged enough to take to the beach or the pool.

Of course if you are serious about professional or semi pro shots then an underwater housing for a good DSLR is what you need.

Shooting through a medium denser than air amplifies the problems in taking a great picture and seems to be heavily dependent on having really good lighting and excellent water clarity.

Even more important than in regular digital photography is to find the rapid fire (continous shoot mode) function on your cam and turn it on. I can't stress this enough. It costs nothing to shoot ten shots instead of one and somewhere in that ten will be the money shot. Be sure to use a big memory card in the cam and don't delete shots until you see them on a pc screen. On occasion a shot that looked terrible on the small cam screen was actually be a cracker when seen on something much larger.

Underwater compact cameras often have a dedicated underwater mode. Be sure to select this as it removes alot of the blue cast from pictures and enhances clarity of your shots.

Forget zooming underwater. Zooming optically means having to use even slower shutter speeds (they're already slowed for the less light available underwater). Zooming digitally means throwing away image quality. Instead, go for as wide angle lens setting as you can and move about with the cam towards or away from your subject to frame them.

You will need strong direct lighting for good results. The water will diffuse light significantly even after only a few feet. Try to set up your shots so that they're taken as close to the surface as possible.

Set up your shots. Wherever you can try and set up shots by talking to your subjects about what you're trying to acheive with the pic. Warn them it might take a few tries at first before you get the distance between them and the cam right. Look at the lighting direction, be sure to be in a position where your subject will be brightly lit on the side pointing towards the cam.

Experiment. If you've got spare batteries and a big memory card in the cam then dont be afraid to keep the cam running hot. Use the whole time shooting to capture bucketloads of shots every which way but loose. Often this approach can yeild some really interesting pics and its a tactic worth employing after you've set up and captured a few "safe" shots.

* Remember * ... Camera in Underwater Mode, Shooting mode set to Continous and Strong Lighting.

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