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LEARNING TO BE A SUCCESSFUL UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER
INON UK Level One Beginner’s To Intermediate Underwater Photography Course
INON UK’s Level One underwater photography course is considered the most comprehensive beginner’s to intermediate program available. It is designed to show you how to take high quality underwater photographs consistently. Our INON UK instructors do this by showing you simple rules to follow that remove the element of luck from taking pictures under the water. It is suitable for divers using underwater compact, compact system and DSLR cameras. INON UK’s Level One course shows you how to take great pictures ‘in camera’. If, like many divers, you thought you would always have to spend ages ‘fixing’ your underwater pictures later in Photoshop, this course will change your mind.
The INON UK Level One course blends learning essential theory with mastering practical skills topped off with developing hands on underwater photography experience. As a minimum the INON UK Level One underwater photography course includes six theory lessons and two training dives. Each training dive is followed by an extensive debrief of each students achievements.
‘I’VE BEEN A PHOTOGRAPHER since I was 11 and a professional photographer both on land and under water since 1994. I have seen quite a few underwater photography courses for compact camera users, and while I would hate this review to end up sounding like an ad, I believe this is the most professional, intelligent and well thought-out I have come across so far’
Professional underwater photo–journalist, Gavin Parsons describing the INON UK Level One underwater photography course in Diver Magazine.
At INON UK we believe, through our own experience as underwater photographers, there is a certain level of understanding you need to have to take underwater photographs successfully. We like to give our students the ‘why’s’ behind the methods we teach. Much like an entry level scuba course, you’ll use what you learned on your INON UK Level One course as a foundation that will serve you well however far you take your underwater photography in the future.
Six theory sessions provide you with the essential information to help you understand the problems of taking photographs through water, what different camera features actually do, how to take colourful pictures without flash, features of underwater strobes, selecting lenses and creative composition skills. After each of the first five modules there’s a short multi choice quiz. This lets your instructor confirm they are getting their points across and prompts them to discuss anything that isn’t clear.
1 - Light – All photography is based on light. Understanding the differences between how light behaves in air and underwater will help you better understand the solutions to the problems underwater photographers face. Your INON UK instructor will also explain how human vision works and how the brain interprets what we see compared to how our underwater camera records an image. Knowing how humans adapt our view of the underwater world compared to how our cameras do will explain away many of the poor pictures we’re all familiar with.
2 – Camera basics – Automatic settings and ‘underwater modes’ rarely provide good underwater photographs. But many divers are confused by the multitude of functions their digital underwater camera offers and aren’t sure what they do or how to use them. This presentation helps put you in charge of your camera and shows you how to control the look of your images. It’s during this presentation you’ll learn to avoid common problems like motion blur and how to bring creativity to your own underwater pictures by making silhouettes or freezing shafts of light.
3 – Restoring colour (natural light) - It’s becoming ever easier to take good colour pictures without using an underwater strobe. There are lots of reasons to take pictures using natural light. It can be less complicated, there’s less equipment to create drag, you’ll get natural looking colours over long distances and you may be able to shoot more quickly. In this session you’ll find out all about colour absorption and the different methods we use to accurately restore true colours the camera does not usually record when set to auto or underwater mode.
4 – Restoring colour (artificial light) – For most underwater photographers strobes are an essential tool. Not only are they necessary to light images at night and inside wrecks and caverns, they are also used to restore true colours. Strobes also play an important part in creative lighting allowing you to modify background colours, enhance textures and spot light parts of your subject, all of which is covered in the soon to be launched INON UK Level Two Underwater Lighting Course. This Level One module discusses features of strobes such as power, coverage and exposure control – all must know information for successful underwater strobe photography.
5 – Lenses – The wealth of subjects we encounter as divers with cameras leaves us spoilt for choice. But no one lens and no single photographic technique can possibly work for all subjects and water conditions. In this session you’ll learn how different lenses suit different applications. Your INON UK instructor will explain the jargon surrounding underwater lenses, helping cut through the confusion of terms such as close up, macro and super macro and the difference between a simple dome port and a more effective genuine wide angle lens. From photographing the tiniest critter to an ocean liner, knowing how to select and use the right lens is the key to a successful image.
6 – Techniques - The INON UK Level One underwater photography course concentrates on helping you to master your underwater camera system and learn simple to use techniques that will make it much easier to take great underwater pictures on your next dive trip. Rounding off your classroom sessions is this presentation on how to create pleasing compositions that will really make your underwater photographs stand out. Your INON UK instructor will talk you through a selection of their own images and discuss how using just a few easily remembered tips can make all the difference between taking a dull snapshot or creating a stunning underwater photograph.
The practical skills set you’ll learn and master on your INON UK Level One course are designed to dovetail with the background theory you have learned. As a minimum you will complete exercises that will show you what causes and how to avoid motion blur, how to take crisp images instead of soft one’s and how to prevent unsightly burn out from sunlight in the top of your pictures. You’ll practice shooting silhouettes and freezing shafts of light for creative effect. You’ll also take comparative pictures using different camera settings to learn about restoring colour using natural light. Learning how to position a single underwater strobe for lighting that is both even and backscatter free is another important part of your INON UK Level One underwater photography course tuition. You will learn the applications and limitations of built in and kit lenses as well as how to use wide angle lenses for larger subjects and creative close focus, wide angle photography. Close up and macro photography are other skills sets you will master with your INON UK instructor during your course.
INON UK underwater photography instructors are trusted to run their courses to best meet the needs of you, their student. At their discretion they may teach the course in a pool or in open water. They may also choose to extend the course by including more training dives. Because INON UK only works with top underwater photography experts, we encourage them to add to and enhance the INON UK Level One course for your benefit. You may wish to discuss your Level One training with several instructors to see which offers the best course for your needs.
Only INON UK instructors listed on the INON UK official website are authorised to offer INON UK courses and only they can provide INON UK certification. If you have any doubt about whether any individual or company is misrepresenting themselves as an INON UK instructor or INON UK Academy, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
INON UK COURSE MATERIALS
INON UK underwater photography instructors are free to recommend and supply the underwater photography manual they believe is right for you, their student, and best fits their INON UK underwater photography course structure. If you find letters or numbers difficult, discuss with your INON UK instructor how they can tailor the course for you.
Your INON UK instructor will register you with INON UK and you’ll receive your INON UK Level One underwater photographer certification card shortly after.
The Underwater Photographer 4th Edition by Martin Edge
Easily understood, yet encyclopaedic in its scope, Martin Edge’s book is considered by many to be the bible for underwater photographers and is INON UK’s recommended text for INON UK instructor candidates. Martin is one of the best-known underwater photography educators in the business. He has written a monthly column detailing how to take better underwater photographs for Sport Diver Magazine for over 20 years and has won many awards for his own underwater imaging. He was the 2006 recipient of the Visions in the Sea award for outstanding contributions to underwater photography. Running to over 500 pages, The Underwater Photographer is lavishly illustrated. Among the six specialist authors Martin seconded to this project are INON UK principal, instructor – trainer and Level One course co – designer Steve Warren and Mark Koekemoer , INON UK instructor – trainer, co – designer of the INON UK Level One underwater photography course and designer of the INON UK Level Two Underwater Lighting course. Mark is also the owner of underwater photography equipment retailer The Underwater Camera Company www.theunderwatercameracompany.com
Principles of u/w photography
Digital compacts by Mark Koekemoer - The Underwater Camera Company
SLRs and housings by Steve Warren – INON UK principal
Diving to take photos
The mindset of successful underwater photographers
All about lighting
Close up and macro
Creating an individual style
Developing a workflow system
Underwater Photography - Art and Techniques by Nick Robertson Brown
Written by INON UK underwater photography instructor Nick Robertson Brown, Underwater Photography – Art and Techniques is small and light enough to carry with you overseas, yet deep in content. Nick is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a professional photo – journalist whose credits include regular features for Sport Diver Magazine and Wild Travel Magazine in addition to newspaper assignments. With wife Caroline, a very successful underwater photo – journalist in her own right, Nick founded Frogfish Photography, an INON UK official dealer and training academy. Nick and Caroline also work closely with Divelife, who are an INON UK dealer. Frogfish Photography and Divelife are the team behind the Northern Lights underwater photography events.
Forward by Steve Warren – INON UK principal
The Camera: A brief look into how cameras work and the settings that can be used to alter an image whilst shooting.
The Equipment: Details into the desirable functions of a camera, the types of camera available, lenses and lighting options.
Getting Started: The chapter covers getting your equipment set up; equipment care & maintenance; packing tips as well as etiquette and care for the environment.
The Underwater Environment: How does taking your camera underwater affect your photography? This chapter explains the hurdles and how to get over them!
Natural Lighting: Using the available light to get the shot you want. This chapter also looks at white balancing and natural light photography techniques to make your images stand out.
Artificial Lighting: Strobes, video lights, remote lighting and all the difficulties that this can bring are covered here to make you confident in using artificial light to bring out the best in the underwater world.
Composition: Read through details of some of the classic compositional "rules" and then be prepared to break them. Get ideas for shots in wide angle and macro before you head into the water.
Exposure Revisited: An in depth look at how ISO, shutter speed and aperture interact and how you can use these controls to get the best image possible.
Animal Behaviour: To get the best shots of marine life, a little understanding of their behaviour goes a long way.
Wreck Photography: Some divers love wreck photography and this chapter covers how best to bring home images of wrecks and artefacts.
Low Visibility: For those who dive in less than perfect conditions - then read on. This chapter covers the issue of backscatter and the settings and equipment best suited for low visibility.
Habitats: Take a tour through the different underwater habitats and see what you might want to photograph and the best way to do it.
Image Manipulation: A brief guide on some of the more common post-dive processing that you might want to do to improve your images.
The Responsible Photographer: Underwater Photographers are the marine ambassadors! As such, we are all responsible for trying to protect that environment and to set a good example to others.
Photocall - by Mark Koekemoer
Photocall is a 12 part series originally commissioned by Diver Magazine and was written by Mark Koekemoer, owner of TheUnderwater Camera Company and an INON UK course designer and INON UK instructor – trainer. Photocall’s aim is to inform beginner and less experienced underwater photographers primarily using compact and compact system underwater cameras. Mark was selected to write the series because of his extensive experience of using compact, compact system and DSLR cameras under the water. Few other diving journalists had the background to write authoritively about lower cost camera equipment most often chosen by enthusiasts – they were mostly used to professional SLR’s!
Photocall is easily printed off and the articles are a handy and useful reference to have with you on location.
Winning Images with ANY Underwater Camera by Paul Colley
We can all look at an underwater photograph and intuitively know if it has real impact or is sadly mediocre. But it is often much harder to identify the reasons why a picture works or doesn’t. INON UK underwater photography instructor, author, magazine columnist and trip leader Paul Colley adeptly confronts the most difficult aspect of successful picture making through exploring composition, in his book Winning Ways with ANY underwater camera. A superb communicator in words and images, Paul logically deconstructs the many different elements that go into making an outstanding underwater photograph and then reveals how to combine them to take that perfect creative shot.
The Big Picture and Why Composition Matters : Aesthetics and Photographic Intent
Subject Selection: The Right Things in the Right Frame at the Right Time
Image Depth Perspective
Background and Space
Organising the Whole Picture
The Reference Models
Understanding Dynamic Range
Natural Light Photography
Remote Lighting Techniques
Split Level Images
Rescuing Composition Errors and Enhancing Good Composition
Welcome to the program.