Book Review: 101 Tips for Underwater Photographers
By Jean Rydberg
When a photographer like Marty Snyderman is giving up photo advice, it’s a good idea to start taking notes. Only a select few in our field are as accomplished as Marty or have been doing it professionally for long. Even fewer can be bothered to take their precious time to give you a tip, let alone 101.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this eBook. I’m no stranger to reading books on my phone- in fact it has become my preferred way to read and has increased my annual book reading by about 20 fold.
The book really shines on a larger device like the iPad but it's still easy to read on a phone. You can easily scroll through the tips and zoom in on photos with your fingers. Storing it on your electronic device means you always have it with you when you travel, unlike a paperback guide.
At first I opened up the book on my iPhone SE and was pleasantly surprised that the text is spaced well enough to read comfortably with my phone in landscape mode. But I found the book really shines on my iPad Pro 11”. The book is automatically synced across devices through the Apple Books app. On the iPad screen the photos are so crisp and vibrant and unlike with a print book they can be enlarged for viewing the fine details.
The book isn’t just full of pretty photos. It has plenty of examples of what doesn’t work to compliment the text. As Marty describes in Tip # 29, you can learn as much by studying photo as photo successes.
If you've been in the game for a while then tip # 5 is something you've likely heard before. But this guide is also filled with practical and creative tips that would benefit any level of photographer. Marty's approach is warm and engaging and makes you want to get in the water.
Many underwater photography guides get bogged down describing everything from what an F/stop is to why we need strobes underwater. This isn’t that kind of book. Instead Marty has compiled lessons learned from a lifetime of chasing shots all over the world. From preparing for a trip to the zen art of choosing a shot, Marty has managed to put together a set of advice that is thought provoking to even the most experienced underwater shooter. I especially like that the subjects of the tips are mixed up- you aren't reading a whole chapter on setting up your gear before you can move onto the exciting and creative stuff.
This is a cliffs notes guide on what works for a working photographer. It is a compelling read and has the quality of making you always want to see the next tip is. Having it at hand on the Books app makes it super convenient to review when organizing your gear or on your way to the next destination. By pressing the chapters button you can quickly scroll all the tips to find the one you’re looking for.
The $14.99 price tag is a bargain compared to the priceless shots you’ll miss out on while learning these lessons on your own.
Marty Snyderman's many achievements include an Emmy Award for cinematography, the 2008 DEMA Reaching Out Award for lifetime contributions to the diving industry, and a 2018 NOGI Award in the Arts by the Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences. Marty's work can be seen in publications, television series, museums, and aquariums around the world. He has complemented his work with decades of teaching underwater photography including the first online course in underwater photography back in the late 1990s.
eBooks available from Apple Book Store and from Amazon.com Kindle.
Jean Rydberg is the President & CEO of Ikelite. She has lived her whole life in landlocked Indianapolis, Indiana, but is no stranger to the water as a daughter of Ikelite’s founder Ike Brigham. She has traveled around the world shooting and testing gear and enjoys new challenges in both photography and diving. Jean loves to learn about the creative ways photographers achieve their visions. More than anything she wants to show aspiring underwater photographers that excellence is attainable with any system. When she's not working she's spending time with her husband and two daughters.