Shark Photography 101
by Nikki Sevy
Advice for the brand-new or novice cage diving photographer
There are lots of books and internet resources about photography for scuba divers. But great white shark cage diving is a unique situation. This is the first of several articles we'll be providing to help you get the most out of your cage diving expedition photos!
1) Research the Location
Learn as much as you can about the location where you will be diving. Know the typical water and photography conditions. The best way to do this is asking people who have already been there. Let's talk!
2) Know How to Use Your Camera
Don't wait until you get in the cage to figure out how the buttons, settings, and menus on your camera work. Practice turning the camera on and off. Practice changing shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation. Using a housing? Practice putting it together and shooting with it. The more comfortable you are with your gear, the more likely you are to capture the shot when it happens as you won't be fumbling around.
3) Make a Gear List
The open ocean isn't the place to learn you left a critical item at home. Make a list of what you'll need, such as batteries, memory cards, and O-rings, and use the list when packing.
4) Check Your Exposure
The very first thing to do once you are comfortably stationed in the cage with your camera turned on is to check your exposure. Focus on something light-colored (like the cage or the hang bait) and take a test shot. Peek at the photo and make necessary adjustments to your exposure (which will be easy since you diligently practiced Tip #2!). The light will change frequently, so do this often.
5) Move Around
The sharks can come at you from any direction. Shoot from different angles to capture unique images. Move around the cage and try various viewports. Just remember the rules of common courtesy and be respectful to the other divers.
6) Be There
Sharks are wild animals. No one can predict when they will arrive at the cages, what they will do, or how long they will stay. Putting in the cage time, even when it's slow or boring, is often the single most important factor in getting that incredible shot.