Importance Of White Balance in Underwater Photography

Photography is something that many people enjoy. Some do it for work and others consider it a hobby. There are so many different styles that can be done and equipment that may be used to capture images of varying subjects. Underwater photographer refers to taking photographs while submerged under water. There is a lot to know when capturing photographs underwater. Underwater photography – importance of white balance should be learned by these photographers.

White Balance in Underwater Photography

When discussing general photography, white balance is important. It is even more important when it comes to shooting while in water. Also known as WB, this refers to a process of removing color casts that are unrealistic. This is done so that objects that appear to be white in person are rendered white in the image as well. Proper white balance must take into account color temperature of the light source, which relates to the warmth or coolness of white light.

Understanding the process of WB is important for improving photographs in a range of lighting conditions. This becomes an important topic with underwater shots because a major obstacle is the loss of contrast and color when submerged in depth. Longer sunlight wavelengths are quickly absorbed by the water, so even the naked eye sees everything in a blue-green cast.

White Balance Corrected in Underwater Photography

This loss of color increases vertically via the water column and also horizontally. In other words, subjects that are far away from the camera will also look indistinct and colorless. The effect is the same even when the water is clear, such as that which is found near coral reefs.

There are different ways coloring issues may be resolved. One technique is to get a camera as close to the subject as physically possible, which minimizes horizontal color loss. Wide-angle lenses, or macro, are great because they allow close focus. Another technique is utilizing flash to restore any color lost vertically. Fill flash, when properly used, will fill in the missing colors by offering full-specter visible light to overall exposure. Range of visibility is another environmental effect to consider with this type of photography. Seldom is the water as clear as one might want. The suspended and dissolve matter present is likely to reduce visibility by scattering and absorbing light.

WB is important to underwater photography. Underwater photos, when not taken with WB in mind are likely to come out more monochromatic and blue hued, rather than colorful and vibrant. There are several ways this can be fixed, especially by digital photographers. Every camera is different, but most have various filters and settings that can be used to make sure photos come out with pristine color.

Some might use an item that is known to be white as a way to adjust the WB on their camera. Another option is using attachable filters. These are available through many manufacturers. Most use red filters, but some may prefer green. This can be removed, which is convenient when photographing in normal settings.

Underwater photographers are encouraged to do research to learn more about how WB is relative to this style of photographer and the ways to use it effectively. It may take some trial and error to get it right. Still, it can make all the difference in the coloring and quality of the final images.

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