15 Inspiring Underwater Images

15 Inspiring Underwater Images


It’s slowly warming up in my part of the world (Australia) and with a vacation planned to Northern parts of the country I’m looking forward to some underwater photography. Here’s some underwater shots that we gathered a couple of years back here at DPS to get in the mood. Enjoy!


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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Boudoir Photography October 26, 2011 02:16 am

    The couple concept is pretty cool .. too bad the image quality doesn't match up

  • Paul September 18, 2011 08:15 am

    Great images, such clarity ....

  • Jason September 10, 2011 10:43 am

    fehn - There is a lot of information missing from this post you left - please fill in the blanks

  • Lucía September 9, 2011 07:58 am

    They´re all gorgeous! I am really amazed of how they use reflection and refraction in the composition. I have a Nikon D5000 and have been looking for an inexpensive housing so if you have any suggestions I appreciate, thanks

  • Craigeeez September 9, 2011 05:35 am

    These are really cool, and I'd never get that close to a shark!

    Some interesting underwater pics here too:


  • jlgarcia September 9, 2011 02:46 am

    Has any one seen Elena Kallis work? :)


    Beautiful underwater photography. Enjoy!

  • pterantula September 9, 2011 01:32 am

    To those asking about u/w cam suggestions:
    you can start small, with a Canon or Olympus P&S (my picks for best u/w results), with at least one external strobe, and SeaLife has decent starter setups as well; you won't get good shots of big or fast animals however, as you'll need the framerate of a dSLR.
    If you're serious about u/w, do this: become a good diver, first & foremost. The diving comes first, and if not you'll not only blow your shots but potentially endanger yourself (and others) in the process.
    When you've become absolutely comfortable multitasking underwater, go to Backscatter.com (my preference), or BlueWaterPhotoStore.com or ReefPhotoVideo.com, and check out the different housings for your favorite (d)SLR.
    My final recommendation, not followed by many ( ;) ), is buy TWO of your favorite dSLR - one for the dives, one for backup WHEN (not if) your housing floods and destroys the camera. (It hasn't happened to me yet though....)

  • pterantula September 9, 2011 01:20 am

    Thanx for including one of my images (the white shark, Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, also used at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco)!

    The Flickr link provided is okay, but if you're interested my main site is: http://terrygoss.ifp3.com (more recent shark updates to come, my favorite diving & photo subject...).


  • Umeed September 9, 2011 01:15 am

    Vanveelen & Willy Volk's images are dynamic and well exposed.

  • kyad September 6, 2011 12:21 am

    i'm currently looking for an underwater camera... any suggestions?

  • Verena September 5, 2011 09:53 am

    I love the picture of the polar bear :) And I'd never, I repeat, *never* put my DSLR into one of those underwater bags, way too risky. Maybe I'll buy one of those underwater cameras one day. Although ... I have to admit that I'm not really a water person in the first place, especially if there are waves involved. Maybe that's an issue ... ;)

  • Silverboarder25 September 5, 2011 09:51 am

    Sorry... just wanted to clarify... maybe they weren't taken at a zoo/aquarium, I'm not the photographer who took them so I shouldn't say either way. BUT... it's still a more accessible option to some than a $$$ camera/housing.

  • Silverboarder25 September 5, 2011 09:48 am

    As reeflections said, a few of these must have been aquarium/zoo... but that means that it opens up a whole world to photographers without requiring an underwater camera/housing. I've got a small olympus that I use for travelling/fishing when I know there's a chance of getting wet, but an SLR as well. Try going to an aquarium and seeing what kind of shots you can take... be aware of flash (reflections), but it's quite the challenge with the lighting, the white balance, iso.... really a difficult task, but when it clicks, the pics can be stellar. Jelly fish were what I found the easiest since they're housings are normally lit, they don't move quickly, they're close, etc.... worth trying out!!

  • Sharon September 5, 2011 08:10 am

    Chuck - I would say the little arm and hand belongs to "Underwater Barbie" :). I love all these examples of underwater photography - this type of shot is achievable for me - nice and safe. It's not that easy to take an underwater photo - the subject is always moving, as is the photographer. I definitely found the flash helped give a few nice sharp shots.

  • compression fittings June 4, 2011 11:14 pm

    Really an amazing photos. I really wish I could took nice pictures just like that. And maybe I could learn on my own. And by the way thank you for sharing article like this.

  • Imran October 2, 2009 01:47 pm

    I'm an underwater photographer. Your humble critic is requested.

  • Chuck September 16, 2009 07:42 am

    In the first pix of the boy snorkeling, what is the little arm and hand on the left side? Weird.

  • Reeflections September 12, 2009 01:36 pm


    The tiny particles you speak of are what we call "backscatter" in the UW photography world. The light from the flash is reflected off of tiny particles suspended in the water back into the lens. You hit one solution right on the nose, shoot in ambient light. As you stated, this only works near the surface. Once you get too far under you lose light and color quickly. The other solution is to use an external strobe, or strobes, located on arms extended away from the camera body. This helps prevent the light from being reflected directly back into the lens. Hope this helps. Good luck!

    -- Jeff

  • jennifer laurie munoz September 12, 2009 12:57 pm

    beautiful pictures! makes me want to take some of my own =)

  • Derek September 11, 2009 08:49 pm

    I recently got a present of a 6 megapixel sports camera and I took about 50 shots with it about an hour before sundown. Some of the images taken near or on the surface looked great but a lot taken 2 metres under were obscured by tiny particles reflecting back from the flash. I would say the biggest consideration for me would be to shoot in good light near the surface without using flash and/or try and get the best water quality and visibility available. The camera was bought from Aldi for €130 and is a great inexpensive way to try out underwater photography...its waterproof down to 30 metres though I haven't had a chance to try that out yet ;-)

  • Fehn September 10, 2009 01:50 pm

    To get the surface of the water to act as a mirror hold your camera at and angle less that the critical angle for total internal reflection. The equation for TIR is theta = arcsin (n2/n1), or for water its just 48.6 degree.

  • Ben September 9, 2009 05:31 am

    These pics are brilliant. Every single one of them catches the eye!

  • Joel September 7, 2009 09:29 pm

    Awesome! The 2nd picture looks a little fake though.

  • Alexandra September 7, 2009 08:42 am

    These are amazing and so inspiring :)

  • David September 7, 2009 06:30 am

    Can you get underwater cases for DSLRs ? I'd be scared still to emerge my camera but these photos are brilliant. The shark one is my particular favourite.

  • Mandy September 7, 2009 06:06 am

    It would be interesting to know which cameras they were shot with???

  • Laurent September 6, 2009 11:08 pm

    Nice set.
    A friend of mine has some good and original stuff : http://www.balao.fr/

  • MeiTeng September 6, 2009 07:43 pm

    What an inspiring set of images! Love the jellyfish shots. So vivid.

  • jobob Arikan September 6, 2009 09:57 am


    Went out in the storm last nite put the new Dicapac bag over
    the Lumix TZ5 and put the thing on rapid burst.
    Culled about 50 images aout of about 3700 frames
    animated the images in gif animator 1.0
    added tune in Swishmax 2
    output to flash file

  • under water photography July 18, 2009 01:37 pm

    Simply mind blowing. I’ve seen some cool ones here as well.great job!Underwater photography is one of the most exhilarating and exciting forms of photography.how to take underwater pictures?any suggestions would help me.


  • jithesh April 18, 2009 04:32 am

    Really amazing photographs and it's a very nice and rare collection for me , Excellent work

  • meg April 17, 2009 07:42 am

    Great inspiriation, thanks!! further to Reeflection's comment you can do under and over photos with the pentax underwater point and shoots (we currently have the Pentax optio w60, but started with an earlier one), they are heaps and heaps of fun and quite inexpensive compared to underwater housings. They may not be as perfect as the top ones but there's some examples here:


    (scroll past the flood pictures- that's just heavy rain, not actually underwater!). The camera only goes to 4-5m, but there's not much light past there anyway and you can get some really pretty images without going deep...

  • Akshat Gait April 17, 2009 02:19 am

    Beautiful is the word.

  • katy May 30, 2008 10:53 am

    i love the colors in photos by or in water.

    also when i saw the polar bear i went "haha butt!" in my head.

  • Christopher January 20, 2008 11:00 pm

    Nice collection of photos. By far my favorite are the Pixie Hawkfish and White Shark. Stop by my blog to check out my collection of underwater photos as well!
    On the Flats Art Studio Blog

  • Æ’reg December 16, 2007 06:27 pm

    "Tracye Says:
    October 24th, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Just FYI, the hand and rose is upside down. The hand is actually coming out of the water, not into it. You can tell by the ripples in the water."


    Hi Tracye,
    The photo was shot underwater, It's not fake =)

  • Creative November 3, 2007 01:07 am

    All are quite fantastic. The photo by Vanveelen almost looks fake and the photo by Arne Kuilman has the most incredible composition - sunlight streaming from behind gives it a very ethereal feeling. Excellent work.

  • MyGoodFinds October 30, 2007 12:25 pm

    that's awesome!

  • Sheree Zielke October 27, 2007 02:01 am

    Amazing shark photos! You have helped to cement our resolve against ever going in the water during our Australian cruise. I don't even want to know how the photographers got their pics.

  • Adrienne Brand October 25, 2007 03:31 am

    Very cool! Those images make me want to buy the equipment and take my photo group on an underwater excursion! I love the shark photo!

  • jeffhall October 24, 2007 10:37 pm

    The images have that 'wow' factor.
    Not sure if its just me but they look even better when viewed with firefox than IE7

  • mbilalsid October 24, 2007 05:07 pm

    great underwater photography!

  • Tom October 24, 2007 04:20 pm

    Wow! I'm inspired ,-) !

    (As I often am by your posts...)

  • Tracye October 24, 2007 03:03 pm

    Just FYI, the hand and rose is upside down. The hand is actually coming out of the water, not into it. You can tell by the ripples in the water.

  • klew October 24, 2007 01:21 pm

    I used a disposable cameras when snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef 7 years ago, everything comes out dark blue. To get anything good in the image, you have to be within 4 feet of the object (you might get a bit more distance right at the surface). Maybe newer technology has improved these underwater sports cameras, and a flash might help (that's a big "might").

  • Aaron Sher October 24, 2007 10:20 am

    Sigh - Firefox, at least, includes the comma in the link in my last comment. If you want to see the photo, go to


    Or just delete the comma.


  • Aaron Sher October 24, 2007 10:17 am

    I've got quite a few underwater shots on my Flickr account - most of them are obviously not up to the quality of the ones in this post, but I think a few of them are pretty good - check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronsher/1425289864/in/set-72157602172791963/, for example (though I can't take credit for that one - my wife took it! Envy...)


  • Pascal October 24, 2007 10:11 am

    Wow, these are some good pictures,

    In response to denmuel, I would just like to point out that the resizing method mentioned in the linked video is completely bogus. It's the same algorithm that does the resizing, whether you do it all at once or in several little steps. I just tried it, once doing the resize in one step, and once doing it in 10% increments. The results were identical, nearly to the pixel.

  • reeflections October 24, 2007 07:31 am

    Very nice images! I wish I had the opportunity and skills to shoot some of these! I would guess at least two of these were not taken underwater though. These were probably taken at an aquarium/zoo:

    1. the jellyfish photo with "Photo by Rigmarole" under it
    2. the polar bear

    Good luck with your quest, as underwater photography is a whole different game. Note, you will probably need a wide angle lens with a fish-eye dome to get good over/under images like the first two.

    Here are a few shots my wife and I have taken: http://www.reeflections.net/gallery.php

    Note that the quality was reduced for the online gallery.

    -- Jeff

  • Tonya October 24, 2007 06:26 am

    Those are some amazing pictures. I don't know which ones I like better ... the ones of the sea life (love the jellyfish ones) or the one with the hands and the roses. Great job to everyone.

    BTW - if you want to do underwater photography I know at one time you could buy the disposable cameras that could be used underwater. I know they probably wouldn't do as well as a "professional" camera, but they do take good pictures. Just a thought.


  • denmuel October 24, 2007 05:34 am

    here is the link to enlarge you image..


  • denmuel October 24, 2007 05:32 am

    wow i can't image what were they thinking when they shoot the photo, amazing :). Anyway if you want to enlarge those picture and make it as your wallpaper, this tutorial video might help you

    [link=http://denmuel.blogspot.com/2007/10/enlarge-image-to-anysize-you-want.html]enlarge image to anysize you want[/link]...

  • Jason van der Valk October 24, 2007 01:40 am

    Those are all really good examples, I agree. The ones with the sharks raised my eyebrows a bit though. :)

    However the black and white photo of the child underwater by childish_david gives me the chills for some reason. I tried to think about why and the only reason I can come up with is because the body appears to be limp and calm with a devilish little smirk. To me it's very macabre and eerie.

    But any photo that invokes feeling like that, whether good ro bad, has done a good job at what art is all about.

    *shutters* :)