What better place to start learning about underwater photography than with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, known around the world as PADI. This is the premier group when it comes to learning how to survive in and enjoy the underwater world.
The group has been in existence for more than 40 years and currently lists more than 130,000 professionals on its books. Thousands of dive shops and resorts around the globe are associated with this organization.
Why is it so important to know about PADI?
Because you won't last long as an underwater photographer without the knowledge you get from associations such as this!
When people think of PADI they are thinking about scuba diving. The letters S, C, U, B, A stand for scientifically controlled underwater breathing apparatus.
You have to breathe through scuba gear to be a professional photographer that works in the water.
This organization offers an Underwater Photographer course and a Digital Underwater Photographer course. The number of people who are beginning to combine scuba diving with photography is growing quickly.
To accommodate the number of people PADI has a digital course that helps people get started. The equipment is digital, both point-and-shot and SLR. The other course uses traditional film cameras and may be considered a bit more advanced.
One of the neat things about the PADI courses is that some individuals can earn college credit for completing the training. Check with PADI for the requirements.
Underwater courses have at least three major components. The first is: choosing the right equipment.
If you are considering underwater photography courses make sure you devote plenty of time to studying the available equipment, comparing prices and talking with experienced divers/photographers.
Good underwater courses will also teach you what to look for when you want to take photos.
Another great source is an independent professional like Stephen Frink, recognized by some as
"the most published underwater photographer, ever!"
Check in with underwaterphotography.com for courses scheduled through 2011.
Some of the courses are taught through the online method. But there is plenty of interaction between students and instructors.
The courses offered by these professionals include Elements of:
Course offerings in this field often include events and contests. One of the key features of schools such as Underwater Photographer is the long list of photo tours "hosted by professional underwater photographers."
In addition to a once-in-a-lifetime experience, participants receive tips, ideas and critiques of their work.
Destinations include Cozumel, Truk Lagoon, Socorro and Raja Ampat, according to information from that site.
Scuba diving is not the least-expensive pastime you can choose!
But if you are seriously considering underwater photography courses you already know that. Adding photography to scuba diving makes this field of work a bit more expensive. Cameras must be specially made to work underwater. Travel adds to the cost as well.
If you can get instruction through an online course and make your own arrangements for diving and taking photos you will probably save money.
If you invest in good scuba equipment and camera equipment then arrange to take one of the study tours you should plan to spend several thousand dollars.
One of the trips planned by an underwater photography school will take a small group to the Cayman Islands. Cost per person for the trip alone is more than $3,000.
There are options for those on a limited budget. Some courses are designed for the absolute beginner and others are limited to two days, as a way to control cost.
You will probably have to travel to the sea to get the full experience of underwater photography. It's certainly possible to photograph sea life and scenes in some lakes and streams but the key to good underwater photography is clarity of the water.
Think carefully and learn all you can before you choose from the list of underwater photography courses.
When you decide which is right for you, give it everything you have! You won't be sorry.