Underwater photography combines skill, patience and the ability to create a captivating composition while keeping subjects sharp in the frame.
It can take time to master the art while you dive, but if you’re looking for inspiration to boost your creativity behind the lens, we’ve got you covered. Dive into some phenomenal underwater photos from super-skilled underwater photographers on Instagram. Here are a few names to follow…
1. Brian Skerry
National Geographic wildlife photojournalist Brian Skerry posts images from his Nat Geo assignments, making for insightful updates on breathtaking locations and marine life, some of which need our help.
Photo by @BrianSkerry. A Gray Seal folds its flippers and poses for his portrait underwater in the Gulf of Maine. Extending from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, the Gulf of Maine and its surrounding waters have been the economic bedrock of New England’s coastal communities, supporting a wide variety of commercial and recreational activities. Unfortunately, many factors currently threaten the vitality of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Decades of pollution, coastal habitat destruction, overfishing and bottom trawling have yielded havoc in the form of extensive habitat loss and diminished biodiversity. We live at a pivotal moment in history, where we understand the problems and have solutions; We simply need the will to take action. Restoring health to these important resources as rapidly as possible should be a national imperative. @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #gulfofmaine #maine #newengland #ne #ocean #underwater #photography #nat #geo #national #geographic #protect #conserve #preserve #nature #seal #cute #animals #atlantic #photooftheday #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador
2. Paul Nicklen
There are fascinating conservation stories galore to be found on Paul Nicklen’s IG page. He documents marine life for SeaLegacy, a project he co-founded which aims to use the power of storytelling to create lasting change for our oceans.
A Goliath grouper digests a lobster off the coast of Cuba. As the light wanes at the end of the day, lobsters start to come out from under their coral or rock shelters and these massive fish—that can grow up to eight feet long and 700 pounds—are there to feast on them. I had no idea these ancient, massive fish had such an appetite for these large crustaceans. Until a harvest ban was placed on groupers, the population was in rapid decline. They are now protected and listed as a critically endangered species by the IUCN. The US began protection in 1990 with the Caribbean following soon after. The species’ population has been recovering since the ban and there is talk of lifting this ban in Florida waters. What do you think about lifting the fishing ban on this species? #turningthetide with @sea_legacy. #nature #naturelovers #protect #mpa
3. Alex Mustard
UK underwater photographer Alex Mustard has been taking photos in the deep for more than 30 years and is the founder of the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition. Check out his photos for yourself.
4. Elena Kalis
Offering something a little different in the world of underwater photography is Elena Kalis. Elena, who began diving in 2005 and lives in the Bahamas, has a talent for photographing dreamy, ethereal portraits underwater and is an Ikelite ambassador.
5. Justin Hofman
Another member of SeaLegacy and a rebreather diver, Justin Hofman is one to follow. He made it as a finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 competition with a haunting image named ‘sewage surfer’, which features a seahorse in Indonesia wrapped around a waterlogged plastic cottonbud.
It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet? . thanks to @eyosexpeditions for getting me there and to @nhm_wpy and @sea_legacy for getting this photo in front of as many eyes as possible. Go to @sea_legacy to see how you can make a difference. . #plastic #seahorse #wpy53 #wildlifephotography #conservation @nhm_wpy @noaadebris #switchthestick
6. David Doubilet
King of split-level images, wrecks, critter shots, colourful corals, nighttime captures and more, National Geographic photographer David Doubilet has a passion for the underwater world – and it began at the age of eight. Since his first assignment for National Geographic 40 years ago, Doubilet has had almost 70 stories appear in the magazine.
A free diver descends into a parting cloud of sardines off Moalboal Philippines. Huge schools of sardines form a pulse of life hidden just beneath the surface a fewer meters from shore. These large shoals are present most of the year and have become an attraction to divers photographers and filmmakers around the world that need hotels, restaurants, equipment and guides creating an economic incentive to protect the marine environment at their doorstep. Net fishing is not allowed but some hook and line fishing occurs. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo story: Inside the Coral Triangle, The Philippines. With @natgeo @thephotosociety #ocean #beauty #coraltriangle #philippines #life #love wonder #nature #extreme #freedive #radical #freedom for #moreocean follow @jenniferhayesig and @daviddoubilet
7. Thomas Peschak
Marine biologist Thomas Peschak is a photographer specialising in conservation stories about the world’s oceans and islands. He became a wildlife photojournalist after realising that he could have a greater conservation impact through photographs than statistics, and is a senior fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. His TED talk, which features stunning footage of somersaulting manta rays, is worth a watch too.
Marine iguanas are the world’s only lizards that feed in the ocean grazing on seaweeds. This unique trait however comes at a price. The Pacific in the western reaches of the Galápagos Islands is cold and the iguanas can only feed for a few hours at a time. For the rest of day they embrace the sun baked volcanic rocky shores to regain as much heat as possible. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the June 2017 story on climate change and the Galápagos Islands. In collaboration with @darwinfound @pelayosalinas #paulmangellfoundation @ecuadortravel #galapagosnationalpark