From Ordinary to Extraordinary: The Art of Creative Composition in Underwater Photography

Use creative underwater photography to lead the viewer's eyse through the page

Welcome to an exploration of creative composition techniques for underwater photography, where we aim to reveal the ocean’s hidden magic through your shots.

As you venture into the depths, these techniques will breathe life into your underwater images, creating captivating photographs that evoke emotion and awe.

Rule of Thirds, Beneath the Waves
The Rule of Thirds involves positioning your subject at the intersecting points of a tic-tac-toe grid on your camera’s viewfinder. This technique adds balance and allure to your underwater shots.

Leading Lines – An Oceanic Journey
Utilise natural lines such as coral reefs, the leading lines of sand ripples, schools of fish, or the graceful movements of sea turtles to guide your viewers’ eyes through the frame, creating a sense of depth and drawing attention to the underwater world’s wonders.

Using leading lines in underwater photography

Negative Space, Positive Impact
Embrace the use of negative space to highlight your subject. Allow the vastness of the ocean or the softness of a bokeh background to surround your subject and focus the viewer’s attention on the highlight of your image.

Get Up Close and Personal
Capture the intricate details and personalities of marine life through close-up shots, whether it’s macro photography of tiny seahorses, shrimps or nudibranchs; or encounters with larger creatures like manta rays.

super macro underwater photography

Frame It, Capture It
Utilize naturally occurring frames, such as coral arches or seaweed silhouettes, to add depth and context to your shots.

using natural framing in underwater photography

Playing with Reflections
Experiment with reflections from surface ripples, sunbeams, an underwater mirror or your underwater housing’s glass to add an ethereal quality to your photographs.

Using reflections in underwater photography

Mastering Color and Contrast
Use the colour wheel to find subjects with colour contrasts to enhance the vibrancy of the ocean’s hues and make your subjects stand out.

Using contrasting colours to make your images stand out in underwater photography

The Magic of Silhouettes
Capture silhouettes of divers or marine life against the sunlit backdrop to create a sense of wonder and mystery in your photos.

Using silhouettes in underwater photography

Rule-Breaking for Creativity
Challenge conventional composition rules by experimenting with unique angles, unexpected compositions, and bold cropping for a fresh perspective.

Creative cropping in underwater photography

Patience, the Virtue of Masterpieces
Exercise patience while waiting for the perfect moment, as the unpredictable nature of the ocean can lead to extraordinary shots.

Patience pays off in underwater photography

With these creative composition techniques, you can embark on a journey into the sea’s artistic wonders and create underwater photographs that inspire and captivate.

Happy shooting, and may your images reflect the breathtaking beauty that lies beneath the waves!

PS: Join me on my Underwater Photography Workshop dive trip to Bali in May 2024 to hone these techniques to take your underwater photography portfolio to the next creative level!