Freediving Photography

Freediving Photography

Instructor course handout

Livio «Fakeye» Berra

Freediving and photography are 2 subjects that go well together. Combining the freedom of being in the ocean and capturing the moment and the beauty is something that becomes more and more popular.

I will explain you the different ways to use photography and freediving below. But first let me add something.

The underwater world is full of wonders. While freediving, we have the abilities to get close to marine life, corals, wreck, canyon and so on. Because we are freediving we can stay a lot of time in the water (unlike scuba that have a very limited time) and dive many times in a day. That gives us the chance to take a lot of photos every session.

So how do you start? What do you have to do? Find the answer below!

Freediving Training

First of all you need to train freediving in order to become a better underwater photographer. It is useless to have a great camera set up if your skills don’t follow. Going deep isn’t the main goal, but being comfortable between the surface and 20m is a must.

Things you have to improve:

Technique: work on your kicking so you are more efficient and use less energy

Equalisation: not so easy with a camera in the hands, so make sure it’s efficient and you master the Frenzel or even better the Hands-Free

Dive time: hangs/bottom time are a good practice, it will allow you to stay still for a longer time underwater and attract more curious marine life near yourself

Relaxation: you need to feel comfortable in the water, naturally and enjoy it a maximum

Keep in mind that your performance when training is going to be reduce while taking photos. The reason is, a camera is bulky and dragging you. You have to move to aim at your subject, correct the settings, find the good angle … It is hard to stay as relax with a camera in the hand, but with practice you’ll only improve.

Different type of camera: Nowadays there is a big range of underwater cameras for all budget depending what are you planning to do with your photos. If you are planning to post in social network you can aim for a cheap set up. But if you want to be a professional and sell photos you need to invest more to get a better quality (Full frame camera). In both cases it is better to get a camera with manual control so you can learn and get the best settings for underwater shooting  


source watershot_wsip5_002_pro_housing_for_iphone.html

Action Camera


Compact Camera

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Mirror less (can be full frame)


DSLR (full frame)


For more precise information please visit cameras

How to take a good photo

A good way to learn is to have a course of underwater photography (with Fakeye Production for example, that make a course specially for freedivers).

I will give some basic in a few words.

Know your camera before jumping in the water: important is to learn how to use all the different settings because once in the housing, it gets confusing. Play with it, go outside and shoot in different condition (city, forest, night …)

Rule of third: or how to frame your subject, don’t make it boring by having always in the centre

White balance: once in the water, the colour disappear very fast. White balancing in different depth gives the real colours back to life.

Learn in MANUAL mode: you will shoot only in Manual so you get the best results. Understand the use of the “Shutter Speed”, the “Aperture” and the “ISO”.

Get close to your subject: the closer the better. Underwater they are many particles floating around and to reduce them you’ll go close to your subject

Be creative: try new things

So now you have a bit more idea, but of course it goes more in details.

How to act underwater

Have a buddy: never freedive alone, the first safety rule

Respect the marine life: don’t chase, don’t touch, don’t feed

Don’t step on coral: find a good entry/exit point for each dive with sand or rocks

Watch your fins: freediving fins are long, make sure you don’t hit/break anything around you

Don’t leave trash behind you: be clean, leave only footprint or bubbles

Approach slowly marine life: to increase the chances of marine life encounter, move very slowly, don’t chase, try to be static in the water and wait for them to come to you

Rest well in between dives: allow a recovery time twice as long as your dive time between each dives

Listen to your body: if you can’t equalise, you are tired, feeling a bit uncomfortable, go out

Don’t push your limit: don’t try to reach any performances achieved in training while taking photos, stay in your comfort zone

Think, don’t be stupid, BE RESPECTFUL

Let’s go in the water

Before each session you’ll have to prepare your equipment and yourself.


Good night of sleep

Healthy (not sick) Not full stomach Hydrated








Battery fully charged

O-ring sealed

Lens clean

Remove lens cap

Lens on auto switch

Double check housing clips

When you enter the water, check if there is any leak in the housing. It should not have bubbles coming out of it. From time to time during the session, double check your housing to make sure there are no drops of water inside.

When all good, get the good settings, warm up yourself with very shallow dives and start taking pictures

For more information about underwater photography please contact

After the dive

Rinse equipment

Submerge camera a few minutes and press buttons Go eat a healthy dish

Hydrate yourself

Import photos in laptop

Start to edit

Good night

Take care of your equipment as much as possible to last longer, and so the same with your body.

Photography purposes


Capturing the general beauty of the ocean, the deep blue, taking details of corals, meeting with giants or take photos of other freedivers. The underwater beauty can be showed in many ways and it is very subjective to everyone. But for sure, a good underwater photo speak for itself.

Ex: sun light, bubbles, coral + free diver, cave …


Conservation / Awareness

A photo can be aimed at protecting our ocean. Specially in those days where the pollution problem is getting bigger and more visible, aiming our photo to spread the word and show the people how dirty the water has become is a must.

Unfortunately not everyone has the chance to travel and see the pollution so as photographers we have a right to show them. Many multinational pays to show a good image of them, media will hide information for different purpose, so with social network any of us can make a small or big impact.

Ex: plastic pollution

It can as well be used in a positive way, for scientific purpose, to keep data in some region and so on.

Ex: healthy coral


Mixing photo and freediving can improve the way of learning the sport. We can have precise photograph of swimming technique. body positioning, rescue practices, equalisation and so on.

Combining these two we have books, manual (like Aida), magazines … The power of a photo is stronger than words sometimes (lot of times)

It will attract new freedivers.

Ex: training


The goal could be a specific research or project, with a team of scientist working on it.

In conclusion, becoming a freediving photographer takes work, practice and creativity. Be ready to hold your breath, discover a new world and have fun”

All photos taken by Livio Fakeye

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