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Disposable underwater camera

Great results underwater at little cost


This image, taken with a disposable underwater camera, would be improved if the pool's vacuum hose was not in the scene.
This image, taken with a disposable underwater camera, would be improved if the pool's vacuum hose was not in the scene.

If you aren’t ready to invest in a full-fledged underwater camera system or just won’t be doing that much underwater photography, but would like to experiment at home, in your outdoor community pool or on your snorkeling vacation, don’t hesitate to try out the disposable underwater cameras available from camera shops.


The Fujicolor “QuickSnap Marine” (with 27 exposures), for example, produces some startlingly effective underwater shots at a more than reasonable price, and is simple to use, even when wearing a face mask. Fujifilm's "QuickSnap Waterproof 800" is an underwater disposable camera designed to operate at depths up to 17 feet, using ISO 800 color film.

Similar disposable underwater cameras are available from other manufacturers. Disposable underwater digital cameras (no film) are also available.

Ask underwater swimmers to forego their face mask, hold their breath (to avoid bubbles blocking their face) and smile for a picture like this
Ask underwater swimmers to forego their face mask, hold their breath (to avoid bubbles blocking their face) and smile for a picture like this

This inexpensive, disposable camera can be used underwater down to 10-feet (3 meters) deep
This inexpensive, disposable camera can be used underwater down to 10-feet (3 meters) deep

SHOOTING TIPS

Remember that light falls off rapidly as it goes deeper, and your best-lit shots will be of subjects near the surface. In shallow water, your photography may benefit from sunlight reflected from the bottom, especially if it's made of white sand.

If you are photographing people underwater, ask them

  • not to wear goggles or face masks,
  • to hold their breath,
  • to look directly at you and
  • even to smile for a good underwater portrait.
  • Be sure you are close to your subject, and fill the frame.

If the surface will be seen in your picture, try to keep your camera level with it.


When shooting in a swimming pool, take pictures in the shallow end so the reflection of sunlight off the bottom will illuminate the underside of your subject. The same principle applies to shooting in a lake or the ocean when the bottom (white sand, for instance) is reflective.

Watch out for distracting elements, like the pool vacuum hose, a partial view of another swimmer or the legs of someone standing in the shallow end. Avoid having the pool's ladder in the background, if you can.

When composing, eliminate distracting, unnecessary objects, such as the second swimmer's leg in this picture.
When composing, eliminate distracting, unnecessary objects, such as the second swimmer's leg in this picture.

Hold your breath, too, to be sure your own air bubbles don't get in the picture.
Hold your breath, too, to be sure your own air bubbles don't get in the picture.

Watch the angle of the light striking your subject to avoid contrast (light and dark areas). Have your subject swim towards the light with the sun behind you; not away from it to avoid deep facial shadow. When a subject is swimming sideways to you, be sure you are far enough away to capture the entire body.

If your subject is tall as opposed to wide, then turn the camera so the subject will be framed vertically. You will be able move in closer for more detail, and fill the frame.


TAKE A DISPOSABLE CAMERA ON VACATION

When traveling, disposable cameras make an excellent second camera to take along. The waterproof types are particularly handy for snapshots at the beach, where your main camera could be damaged by water or sand.

Three changes would have improved this picture - subject facing towards the light, shooting in the shallow end and vertical framing.
Three changes would have improved this picture - subject facing towards the light, shooting in the shallow end and vertical framing.