Underwater Photography Equipment: The Ultimate Guide to Waterproof Equipment

Shooting underwater can open up a whole new world of creative possibilities. Many potential subjects only exist underwater, and diving down to get the shot is the only option. But underwater shots add an other-worldly feel to objects traditionally shot above water as well. Objects interact with water differently than they do with air and create a new set of possibilities for the framing and composition of your shots. But you can't just take any camera into the water as is and expect the shots to turn out great. In fact, there's a greater possibility that your camera will be ruined.

Why photography equipment is different for underwater shoots

The most obvious reason that underwater shots require special equipment is that water doesn't play nice with others. Getting water in your electronics is a good way to ensure that they'll never work again. Even old-school film cameras don't work when the film is submerged. So all your underwater photography equipment needs to be specially designed to operate under water while keeping the important parts dry.

Underwater photography also presents some unique challenges. The deeper you go, the less light is going to penetrate to the depth you are at. This means you'll often be shooting with less light than you'd like. Any artificial light you bring will reflect off particulates in the water and create undesired effects if steps aren't taken to compensate for that. Finally, those noisy particulates floating around and the caustics present underwater make it difficult for features such as autofocus and auto-white balance to operate correctly. These conditions mean excellent low-light performance and precise manual controls are also important features of underwater photography cameras.

What equipment you need for underwater photography

The housing

The first thing you'll need is a way to protect your camera. You don't need a special underwater camera, but you do need an underwater housing to protect your existing camera.

The camera

As far as the camera itself, the best camera for underwater photography will be one that has enough manual control to overcome the challenges mentioned in the previous section. If you don't shoot manually very often, getting used to the camera controls while also adjusting to using the camera inside a housing can be a learning process, but it shouldn't take too long to get the hang of it.

The lenses

Everyone has seen the refraction and caustics caused by water. It's apparent, then, that water acts as its own sort of optical filter. For the best shots, a special underwater lens, called a wet lens, will help to compensate for the effect water has on the optics and allow you to get cleaner, less distorted shots.

The lights

In order to compensate for the lack of light under water, you'll need a strobe that's bright enough to bring some of the color back to the shot. However, the flash on your camera will highlight particulates and result in a noisy shot. External strobes move the light further away from the lens and reduce that type of backscatter.

Use PaintShop Pro to edit your photos

Getting a perfect shot underwater relies a lot on having perfect equipment and a little bit of luck on your side. The low lighting conditions can make shots more desaturated and grainy than you'd like them to be unless you are using the best equipment. Even then, like all photography, underwater shots can benefit from a healthy dose of post-production work.

Professional photo editing software can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. PaintShop Pro provides you with powerful features for adjusting your image, including some that use advanced AI to work magic on the output. In addition to being powerful, PaintShop Pro is affordable. Best of all, you can try the software free for 30 days to see for yourself how well it meets your underwater photography editing needs.


Shooting underwater will take some getting used to. While underwater housings aren't as bulky and intrusive as they once were, there's still a learning curve to dealing with the unique conditions that come with underwater photography. However, it opens a new set of subjects for you to shoot and stories for you to tell through photography. With decent equipment and powerful tools like PaintShop Pro at our disposal, you'll be taking great underwater photos in no time.

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