Models and Marine Life

Underwater photographers usually evolve a specialty, but the first fork in their road typically involves defining an interest in either photographing natural history — marine life in particular — or concentrating on editorial and commercial work that inevitably involves photographing people underwater. Photos of charismatic marine life help tell the story of a dive destination or might be used for photo décor or stock photography. Compositions that illustrate people interacting with marine life bridge both disciplines and combine each approach’s rewards and challenges.

whale shark and diver for size reference

Cristina Mittermeier Photo Gallery

After reading the Shooter column “Cristina Mittermeier: Commitment to Conservation,” view this additional photo gallery of her work.

God's Pocket British Columbia

Cristina Mittermeier: Commitment to Conservation

Photographer Cristina Mittermeier’s social media posts have insightful captions that reveal her deep commitment to ocean ecology issues. Telling stories that inspire, engage and ultimately motivate action, she wants to show what’s beautiful and special but also what may be in dire peril. Perhaps most significantly, she wants to show her audience an opportunity to act positively and to possibly attain a solution, using her photography to shine a light and make a difference.

The fluke of a humpback whale lifts above the sea in the warm glow of dusk off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Shooter: Zena Holloway

Zena Holloway has evolved into one of the world’s top commercial underwater photographers in a circuitous and nontraditional fashion. Today she is one of the most creative and in-demand producers of underwater fantasy images in both stills and video. Her client list includes Nike, Speedo, Umbro, Sony, Jacuzzi as well as publications such as GQ, Observer Magazine and How To Spend It.

Zena Holloway (center) holds a baby in her right arm and a toddler in her left arm. All three are submerged underwater.

A Different Light

LED lighting can be used successfully for underwater still photography thanks to advancements in technology. Learn how to harness the power of LED lighting for great images.

Purple spanish shawl nudibranch

Shooter: Kurt Amsler

Kurt Amsler has been shooting underwater for nearly 60 starts — first using a converted soccer ball to house a camera. Learn more about his inspiration for photos and how he got into scuba diving.

A black-and-white photo of Kurt Amsler as he pops up out of the water holding an old camera

The Big Little

Old macro photography techniques made it hard to go beyond 1:1 ratios. New tools have made supermacro photography readily accessible. This makes it incredibly easy to capture tiny ocean critters in bigger-than-life images.

A close-up of orange clownfish embryos looks very creepy. The embryos look like "The Scream" and the eyes are very beady

The Endless Summer of Douglas Seifert

Douglas Seifert is an accomplished underwater photographer. Read more about his origin story and how he combined diving with photography.

Douglas Seifert photographs a silky shark in Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina.

Out of the Blue

Your photography will evolve over time and your digital editing techniques should too. Learn some inside tips for Adobe Lightroom.

A diver swims overhead holding a camera

Shooter: Roger Steene

Photographer Roger Steene shares his story about what got him into photography. Read more of Steene’s story.

Roger Steene wears a drysuit and holds a camera, while bobbing in the water