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Hi!

From Kona on the Big Island of Hawai’i, Sarah Lee is a water and lifestyle photographer who is incessantly glued to camera viewfinders, swim fins, and the ocean. Her passion for lifestyle and water photography was shaped by a childhood where she was constantly immersed in the ocean. Currently she photographs and collaborates with ocean-centric athletes, models, causes, and brands in Hawaii, California, and other parts of the world.

Essential Underwater Photography Tips & Gear

Essential Underwater Photography Tips & Gear

Taking photographs underwater may seem daunting and a little dangerous for someone who hasn’t done it before, it sure was for me, but here’s a few things I learned during my journey discovering the magic of underwater photography, along with some of the gear I use for certain situations. This interview for underwater photography tips originally posted by SmugMug.


Underwater Photo Tip #1

Ask your models to channel their inner ballerina or yogi and trust them. Open body posture is key.

This photograph was taken of adventure model and soul surfer, Alison Teal, somewhere in the warm waters of Fiji.

This photograph was taken of adventure model and soul surfer, Alison Teal, somewhere in the warm waters of Fiji.

Underwater Photo Tip #2

 I find it ideal to photograph people underwater in the late morning between 8-11am because you’re going to need a lot of natural light being underwater. Though, on occasion it’s fun to experiment with different times of day.

This photograph was taken during the last hour of the day.

This photograph was taken during the last hour of the day.

Underwater Photo Tip #3

 Skin tones look the best within 1-5 feet of the surface. Beyond that, you start to lose the warmth and reds in their skin tone.

 danielle zirkelbach

Underwater Photo Tip #4

 You don’t always need a fancy camera or underwater setup to take a good photo. This photograph was taken on a GoPro.

This photograph was taken at sunset with a GoPro Hero 2 on Burst Mode. The automatic shutter speed of the GoPro created this motion blur effect in camera!

This photograph was taken at sunset with a GoPro Hero 2 on Burst Mode. The automatic shutter speed of the GoPro created this motion blur effect in camera!

Underwater Photo Tip #5

 Working with props and clothes can be challenging underwater but worth the effort! In this shoot, I created a jellyfish from an umbrella, ribbons, and beaded curtains. Just be careful you don’t lose anything in the process!

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Underwater Photo Tip #6

Within the realm of underwater photography, there’s not much in your control. It’s all about being in the moment and finding the composition within the “chaos.” Most of my favorite photographs were taken when I just let things “be” and used my camera as a way to interpret what is happening at the present moment, rather than trying to orchestrate and control any of it.

photo taken by Lucia Griggi.

photo taken by Lucia Griggi.

Underwater Photo Tip #7

Protect your gear. I alternate between surf housing and water covers depending on the conditions I shoot in. For a list of photography gear I currently use, go here.

(Gear as of March 26, 2016)

(Gear as of March 26, 2016)

Sunset Surfing in Encinitas

Sunset Surfing in Encinitas

Dominica: The Nature Island

Dominica: The Nature Island

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