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How social media changed the way that I photograph underwater

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Have you ever considered using social media as a method of learning underwater photography or finessing the way you shoot? If you haven’t considered it before, it may be interesting for you to learn that many people are online and doing it right now.

If tools like Facebook, Instagram and photography communities aren’t on your radar, it could be time to get online and start reaping the benefits that come with having a connection to a diverse and international community. It’s free to access, always available and you will gain visibility of all different styles, tastes and experience levels from oceans across the world!

The underwater photography community online is huge and constantly growing. If your first reaction to reading all about social media is to roll your eyes or to dismiss the online realm as the playground of millennials, hear me out!

There are two real benefits that come with using social media platforms to improve your photography. The first? It expands your mind to what’s possible. The portfolios of a vast array of photographers are now at the tip of your fingers, which is incredibly inspiring. Exploring the work of others can motivate you to ‘set the bar higher’ and immediately exposes you to new techniques and ways of thinking.

The second benefit is the feedback you can receive from members of your online community. I actively participate in Facebook communities such as ‘Wetpixel underwater photography’ (they have an excellent forum on their website) and ‘Marine Pixels – Underwater Photography’. Both of these communities are fantastic and allow members to request feedback on their images while viewing content from other contributors. The feedback is often positive and constructive which has allowed me to view my images from a new perspective and grow.

If you’re after something more specific, there are communities on Facebook catering to different subjects and different photography techniques. This can include anything from groups of people whose passion is blackwater diving, through to people shooting specifically using fluorescent filters… and everything in between. There really is something for everyone.

Being a macro enthusiast myself, I enjoy participating in ‘Underwater Macro Photographers’ and ‘International group of underwater macro enthusiasts’. I spend hours perusing images on underwater photography communities and connecting with other enthusiasts. Although I don’t always comment on each post individually or directly speak with the contributor, I enjoy working out what I like about each shot and what I would have done differently if it were my photograph. I’ve found that reviewing and critiquing images from other photographers has trained me to approach my own technique analytically. This has noticeably changed how I shoot underwater and edit my images.

In my experience, there is a generosity of knowledge on these communities which makes them incredibly collaborative and interactive. If you have a question, you can ask a knowledgeable group for help and advice on an issue you’ve having, what gear you need or to talk through and plan an upcoming project.  This takes the guess work out of your photography and allows you to grow and learn from one-another. Information sharing and utilizing the collective experience is a quality of these groups and communities that keeps me coming back time and time again.

If the idea of participating in a formal community is intimidating, Instagram can be a great first step. If you’re not familiar with Instagram, it is a social media app that is designed for the publication and sharing of images specifically. There is an established underwater photography community contributing to Instagram and it’s easy to get involved!

In my opinion, Instagram has the largest volume and variety of underwater photography content available on any social media app. I believe this is because anyone, anywhere can contribute and the search tool, based on hashtags, is incredibly powerful. Because of this Instagram is a great resource for discovering new techniques and approaches to underwater photography. Like Facebook, you can use Instagram to connect with other photographers, follow trending techniques and receive feedback on your images. In fact, identifying and following specific tends is made easier on Instagram, as the search tool is more powerful than that of Facebook or similar social media apps.

Outside of your typical social media platforms are dedicated underwater photography websites and forums you should check out. Scubashooters is a great example of an online community where amateur and professional photographers come together to share images through the photographer portal. Additionally, the website has a forum where members can discuss underwater photography, diving destinations and scuba diving as a hobby. These websites open up your eyes to new places to shoot, new subjects to find, new ways of shooting and new people to collaborate with. As it’s a dedicated website, you will find that content is always relevant to the industry and is moderated to ensure that the community remains positive and constructive. Again, through viewing portfolios and popular images, it’s easy to identify current trends, new techniques and to better understand what makes a great image. The spirit of this website is really to collaborate, inspire and support.

While I’ve only discussed a handful of my favourite social media apps and forums with you, I hope I’ve shown the benefit that social media can bring. This goes above and beyond simply sharing the incredible things you’ve seen underwater with your friends and family. Social media allows you to be inspired by talented photographers globally while actively seeking feedback on your own work. Collaboration and knowledge sharing on these communities not only helps you to grow as a photographer but supports the growth of others.

My final advice to you is to research widely, see what’s available online, try a variety of social media applications or websites and get involved. Find a community or communities that you feel comfortable with and go at your own pace. I hope you find inspiration and see first-hand how the how the exposure you gain, feedback you receive and relationships you form can change your perspective on the way you plan, shoot and edit your images.

Check out more of Miranda-Clare’s photos on Instagram @divingphotos or visit her website www.mirandaclare.com.

Diving and underwater photography enthusiast Miranda-Clare first discovered her passion after moving to Grand Cayman in 2015. Since then, it has become her obsession to explore and capture the underwater world. Now based in South East Asia, she enjoys sharing her journey with other aspiring photographers. Find out more at www.mirandaclare.com.

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Jeff chats to… Underwater Photographer Ellen Cuylaerts (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Ellen Cuylaerts about her diving and underwater photographic career.

As an underwater and wildlife photographer, Fellow of The Explorers Club and having a front seat in exploration being part of the Flag and Honours Committee, Ellen is also a Member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She travels the world and tries to make the most of every destination and the path that leads her there. Ellen acts as an ocean citizen and believes as divers we should all be ocean ambassadors and lead by example. She is now based in the UK after many years in Grand Cayman.

Find out more about Ellen and her work at www.ellencuylaerts.com


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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SeaLife launches new Android app for popular SportDiver smartphone underwater housing

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SeaLife has launched their Android app for the popular SportDiver Smartphone housing. The SeaLife SportDiver is a compact, lightweight underwater housing that fits most Android smartphones and Apple phones from iPhone 7 and up.  The Android and iOS apps work with the current OS and the previous version, e.g. the Android app presently works with Android 11 and 10.

The SeaLife SportDiver housing allows divers to take photos and video with their smartphone down to 130 feet or 40 meters.  The heavy-duty housing is constructed of polycarbonate, stainless steel, aluminum and optical grade glass.  And while the SportDiver housing is “heavy duty”, it is not heavy, weighing less than 1.5 pounds (641 grams) on land, and offers near-neutral buoyancy in water depending on which smartphone is used.

The SportDiver ergonomic design is easy to hold and use, featuring a large shutter lever and rear control buttons for easy operation, even with dive gloves.  Snorkelers and Divers can get more creative with their photos or video shot by using advanced camera settings. Adjust Zoom, control exposure, Auto/Manual Focus, White Balance, Lens selection, RAW+JPEG mode, and many more settings depending on your phone model.

The SeaLife SportDiver includes the free SportDiver camera app for both Android and iOS. With the SportDiver app, you can easily switch between photo and video mode. The SportDiver app utilizes the native phone camera technology resulting in the same high-quality photos and videos that you would expect from your phone.  The app also offers a power-save mode that temporarily turns the phone’s camera off and dims the display; a touch to any button wakes it up immediately.

The App Playback mode shows full size photos and videos with a vertical thumbnail strip to easily locate your images. Videos start playing automatically when selected. All files are also saved to the phone’s camera roll.  The SportDiver housing automatically connects to your phone and the SportDiver app using Bluetooth® Low Energy wireless technology. No cables or buttons touch the phone and the housing offers ultra-low power consumption which is powered by two AAA batteries that last over 50 hours of continuous use.

For enhanced imaging results, a removable underwater color-correction filter is included with the SportDiver which restores natural underwater colors. The filter easily attached or removes underwater and includes a safety tether to prevent loss. The SportDiver housing features triple 1/4-20 tripod mounts which mounts to any light or light tray with standard tripod threads such as SeaLife’s own range of Sea Dragon underwater photo/video lights.  SeaLife also offers the SportDiver and Sea Dragon underwater light combined dubbed the “SportDiver Pro 2500 Set”.

For the phone’s safety and protection, the SportDiver has a sturdy holding spring and rubber grip tabs that securely hold the smartphone in place and add shock-protection. The SportDiver has “Dual Leak Alarms” which include an internal moisture alarm and a vacuum pressure alarm which alert the diver with on-screen warnings, audio and LED signal in the unlikely event the waterproof seal is compromised when there’s a loss of housing pressure or moisture is detected. The door of the SportDiver is sealed with a TPE O-ring and a robust cam-lock sealing latch that easily and securely locks waterproof door. To prevent interior fogging from residual moisture, the SportDiver uses the anti-fogging agent “Moisture Muncher” capsule which prevents fogging and internal condensation.

SeaLife SportDiver phone housings are available now. Since there’s no change in hardware or electronics, any SportDiver housing will be able to connect to both the iPhone or Android app.

The new Android app is available at the Google Play store now: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sealife.sportdiver

The official app name when searching is “SportDiver” by Pioneer Research.

SeaLife offers a “fit-guide” on its website for users to instantly determine if their phone model will fit into the SportDiver housing. Go to https://www.sealife-cameras.com/sportdiver-compatibility/ or simply scan the QR code above to see if your phone fits.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

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www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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