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The BEST Piece of Advice as a Beginner Underwater Photographer [VIDEO]

The BEST Piece of Advice as a Beginner Underwater Photographer [VIDEO]

By Denise Pietsch

I recently had the incredible opportunity to dive in the beautiful Exuma Islands with my teammates here at Ikelite. It was my first real experience shooting underwater in the ocean, and I learned a lot. But, there was one specific piece of advice that changed everything for me. Watch the video, or read the article below, to find out what it was, how it boosted my confidence, and transformed my underwater photos.


Keep it Simple 

I look at underwater photos all the time when scrolling Instagram and Facebook, I'm always attracted to the over-unders, wide angle, and macro shots, and I really wanted to capture some of those images for my own.

The downside of having all these shots in mind is that I was lacking a clear focus. I got in the water, surrounded by all this amazing wildlife, and I wanted to shoot everything. After reviewing my shots from the first day, I was disappointed with what I was getting. These weren't the shots that I had in my head.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by pros. I got a chance to sit down with John and he gave me a really good piece of advice: keep it simple. Take a step back from the bigger picture. Focus on a macro subject that isn't moving, like a flamingo tongue. So the next day I moved in close and was able to capture some decent macro shots.

flamingo tongue denise pietsch taken with ikelite housing with tg-6 and strobes

Here is one of my flamingo tongue photos I'm really happy with, and it was a big turning point for me. © Denise Pietsch


Building Confidence

I really felt like a photographer when I started incorporating information from Cheat Sheets and Techniques from Ikelite’s online Photo School, like what settings to use, strong angles to shoot at, and how to work with available light and my strobes.

The rest of the trip I had so much more confidence in my ability to experiment and capture the images that I had in my head. I found myself shooting coral heads, sharks, fish, and a silhouette of my dive buddies I'm really proud of.

silhouette image taken by denise pietsch with an olympus tg-6 inside an ikelite housing with ikelite strobes

Not only is the composition cool in this image but looking at it now, it evokes good memories from the dive trip. © Denise Pietsch

Advice for New Underwater Photographers

If I could give one piece of advice to underwater photographers just starting out: keep it simple. Work on knowing how to adapt your settings on an object that's not moving. Once you get that confidence, start moving on to more dynamic subjects and more difficult shots. Have an idea of what you want to shoot in mind. Do your research, lean in to the learning curve, and most importantly, have fun!

coral head by denise pietsch taken with olympus tg-6 inside an ikelite housing and ikelite strobes

What's the secret to underwater photography with the Olympus TG-6? The RC1 TTL Receiver. © Denise Pietsch 

Get the Gear

During our weeklong dive trip through the Exumas, I was shooting the Olympus Tough TG-6 camera in an Ikelite Underwater Housing with two DS51 strobes in TTL mode with RC1 TTL Receivers. Need some advice on what gear you should get? Email us today!


denise headshot

Denise Pietsch (pronounced “Peach”) currently manages Ikelite’s Photo School and social media presence. Denise hails from New Jersey, where she obtained a degree in Dance Therapy. After years teaching dance she migrated into the corporate world and eventually came around to Ikelite via the natural career path of fruit distribution and early childhood development. In the end, her lifelong love of photography and octopuses combined into the work she does now. In addition to sharing her energy and enthusiasm with the underwater community she also manages social media for her dog, Joe, collects vinyl records, and enjoys creating memories with her friends and family.


Additional Reading

Diving Into a Deeper Meaning: Finding Inspiration in the Scuba Industry

I Tried an Underwater Pool Photoshoot for the First Time [VIDEO]

Aqua Cat Bahamas // Best Dive Liveaboards for Underwater Photography [VIDEO]

The Results: First Time Underwater Pool Photo Shoot

Wide Angle Fisheye to Macro on the Same Dive with the Olympus Tough TG-6

Macro with Black Background Underwater Camera Settings

The Secret to Underwater Photography with Olympus and Panasonic Cameras [VIDEO]

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