Kyle Soto Photography: Blog en-us (C) Kyle Soto Photography [email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) Wed, 14 Feb 2024 20:36:00 GMT Wed, 14 Feb 2024 20:36:00 GMT Kyle Soto Photography: Blog 96 120 Unlocking the Secrets of Underwater Photography without Strobe Unlocking the Secrets of Underwater Photography without Strobe: Diving Deeper into Natural Light Mastery

Underwater photography is a captivating realm where strobes are often considered essential for overcoming the challenges of water absorption. However, venturing into the art of capturing mesmerizing images without relying on strobes opens up a world of unique possibilities. In this extended exploration, we'll delve into the nuances of leveraging natural light, choosing the right lens, and mastering the intricacies of white balance adjustment.
Embracing Ambient Light:

  1. Understand the Characteristics of Natural Light: Familiarize yourself with the way natural light behaves underwater. The intensity and color spectrum change with depth, affecting the overall mood and appearance of your shots. Experiment in different conditions to grasp the subtleties of ambient light.

  2. Utilize the Golden Hour Below the Surface: Similar to above-water photography, the golden hour – the period just before sunrise or sunset – has a magical quality underwater. During this time, the sunlight penetrates the water at a more acute angle, producing warm and rich tones. Dive during these hours for stunning results.

  3. Play with Angles for Dramatic Effects: Experiment with shooting towards the surface from below, capturing subjects against the shimmering backdrop of sunlight. This technique not only enhances color but also creates dramatic silhouettes and contrasts, adding depth and interest to your images.

  4. Adjust ISO for Low Light Conditions: Understand how to manipulate your camera's ISO settings effectively. In low light conditions, a higher ISO can make your camera more sensitive to light, enabling you to shoot in dimmer underwater environments without sacrificing image quality.

Choosing the Ideal Lens:

  1. Select a Wide Aperture Lens: When shooting without strobes, opt for a lens with a wide aperture (low f-number). A fast lens allows more light to enter the camera, compensating for the light loss underwater. Consider prime lenses with apertures like f/2.8 or lower for optimal results.

  2. Understand Depth of Field: Master the concept of depth of field to control what elements of your underwater scene are in focus. A wide aperture creates a shallow depth of field, emphasizing the subject while blurring the background. Experiment with different depths to achieve captivating compositions.

  3. Investigate Macro and Wide-Angle Lenses: Depending on your subject, choose between macro and wide-angle lenses. Macro lenses are ideal for capturing small, intricate details, while wide-angle lenses excel at encompassing expansive underwater landscapes. Have both in your repertoire for versatility.

Fine-Tuning White Balance:

  1. Custom White Balance Calibration: Explore your camera's custom white balance settings for precision underwater color correction. Use a white slate or reference card during your dive to calibrate the camera to the specific ambient light conditions, reducing color shifts in your images.

  2. Understand Color Temperature: Grasp the concept of color temperature and how it affects the color rendition of your photos. Different depths and lighting conditions can introduce color casts; adjusting the temperature settings allows you to bring out the true colors of your underwater subjects.

  3. Experiment with Color Filters: Integrate color filters into your underwater photography toolkit. Filters can help enhance and correct colors by compensating for the color loss at different depths. Experiment with red and magenta filters to counteract the blue or green hues prevalent in underwater environments.


Mastering underwater photography without strobes demands a keen understanding of natural light dynamics, lens selection, and meticulous white balance adjustments. By embracing these techniques, you not only sidestep the need for artificial lighting but also unlock the potential for creating stunning, naturalistic images that showcase the hidden wonders beneath the waves. Remember, practice and experimentation are the keys to becoming proficient in this challenging yet rewarding aspect of underwater photography.


[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) ambient light tips color temperature correction depth of field underwater golden hour diving iso for low light natural light techniques no strobe photography underwater lens selection underwater photography white balance underwater Thu, 08 Feb 2024 18:56:05 GMT
Underwater Photography Tips for Beginners: Navigating the Ocean with Confidence Underwater Photography Tips for Beginners: Navigating the Ocean with Confidence

Embarking on the mesmerizing journey of underwater photography is an exciting prospect, but for beginners, it can also be a realm of uncertainty. Fear not, as this comprehensive guide is tailored to help novices navigate the complexities of capturing the underwater world. Let's delve into essential tips that will set you on the path to becoming a proficient underwater photographer.

a. Start in Shallow Waters: Wade Before You Dive

i. Choose Shallow, Clear Waters:

  • Begin your underwater odyssey in shallow, crystal-clear waters. The shallowness provides a safety net while the clarity allows you to focus on mastering your equipment and basic techniques.

ii. Gradual Depth Progression:

  • Resist the urge to plunge into the abyss immediately. Gradually progress to deeper waters as you gain confidence and refine your skills. Mastering the basics in shallower depths lays a solid foundation for more challenging dives.

b. Practice Buoyancy Control: Mastering the Aquatic Balancing Act

i. Controlled Environment Practice:

  • Find a controlled environment, such as a swimming pool, to practice taking photographs and navigating with your camera. This controlled setting allows you to concentrate solely on refining fundamental skills without the variables of open water.

ii. Buoyancy's Role in Photography:

  • Understand that buoyancy control isn't just about safety; it's integral to capturing steady and focused shots. The ability to hover effortlessly allows you to compose your images without the distractions of unstable movement.

c. Focus on Composition: Framing the Subaqueous Canvas

i. Prioritize Composition Over Complexity:

  • In the initial stages, concentrate on composing visually appealing shots rather than diving into intricate camera settings. Mastering the art of composition lays the groundwork for creating captivating underwater images.

ii. Rule of Thirds Underwater:

  • Familiarize yourself with the rule of thirds—a fundamental composition principle. Apply this concept to position your main subject off-center, creating a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing composition.

d. Choose the Right Conditions: Setting the Stage for Success

i. Optimal Weather and Visibility:

  • Select days with calm seas and excellent visibility for your first underwater experiences. These conditions reduce external challenges, allowing you to concentrate on photography without battling rough waters or limited visibility. Usually offshore winds will create calmer seas and in turn clearer water. It is also helpful to note that clarity is usually best at high tide.

ii. Focus on Photography Amidst Calm Seas:

  • Calm seas contribute to a more enjoyable and focused photography session. With minimal disturbances, you can refine your skills and gain confidence in capturing the beauty of the underwater world.

e. Learn from Others: Dive into the Community

i. Join Underwater Photography Communities:

  • Immerse yourself in communities dedicated to underwater photography. Platforms like forums, social media groups, and photography clubs provide invaluable resources, advice, and shared experiences.

ii. Share for Constructive Feedback:

  • Fearlessly share your work with the community for constructive feedback. Embrace the learning curve, and use feedback to refine your techniques and enhance your understanding of underwater photography.

Embarking on the journey of underwater photography as a beginner is a thrilling endeavor filled with discovery and challenges. By starting in shallow waters, mastering buoyancy, prioritizing composition, choosing optimal conditions, and becoming an active part of the underwater photography community, you lay the groundwork for a rewarding and enriching experience beneath the surface. Dive in, explore, and let the underwater world unveil its secrets through your lens. 🌊📸 #UnderwaterPhotography #BeginnersGuide


[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) Buoyancy control techniques Camera settings for underwater beginners Composition in underwater photography Learning underwater photography Optimal conditions for underwater shots Shallow water photography Underwater photography Underwater photography communities Underwater photography for beginners Underwater photography tips Wed, 07 Feb 2024 21:49:53 GMT
Black Friday Sale 2021

Get some great deals on the website today! All prints are 25% off with code: "BLACKFRIDAY" This includes canvas, metal, acrylic, and all other products. Get the perfect Christmas gift or the perfect piece of artwork for your home or business. 

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) animals christmas conservation coupon discount fine art ocean photography sale underwater photography Fri, 26 Nov 2021 15:47:46 GMT
Over-Under Shots Morning sunriseOver-under shot

One of the most difficult shots to master in underwater photography is the infamous over and under shot also known as split-shot and split photos. These technical photographs require a large dome port to capture both subjects above and below the surface of the water. The dome port acts as a large glass viewing bubble for the lens to view the underwater world and the surface world at the same time. The difficulty of this technique involves various different elements. Firstly, you have to expose in a way that allows the darker bottom half of the photo to be visible while not blowing out the top half of the photo with the bright sun. It takes practice and time to find the perfect settings that balance the exposure of both sections of the image. Secondly you must be able to find a focal point on the subject that you want to have in focus. This can be challenging because water droplets and the water-line itself can take the focus away from the subject and come sometimes leave a photo that is completely blurry and out of focus. Lastly is of course the difficulty of capturing a moving subject in a fraction of a second with all of those other elements working against you. The final product can be rewarding and extremely unique. You can purchase this photo in my gallery along with many other over and under shots.

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) animals biology conservation dome lens ocean over and under over-under photography port split-shot underwater photography water housing Fri, 19 Nov 2021 19:46:06 GMT
Ocean Conservancy Judge's Choice Winner I’m honored to announce that my image “Golden Hour” has won Judge’s Choice in the 2019 Ocean Conservancy Photo Contest! It’s been a privilege participating this year, and I was awed by all of the  talented artists who are collectively seeking to help the environment. The Ocean Conservancy is an incredible organization that is working towards a cleaner and healthier ocean. I am very grateful for the opportunity to present  my work on their platform, and I hope that this year’s images can show the beauty of the ocean and inspire others to protect it.You can purchase this photo on my website under the gallery titled "Featured."

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) animals aquatech biology conservation earth endangered fine art florida free dive nikon ocean photography planet recycle sea turtle sea turtle nesting sea turtles turtles underwater photography water housing wildlife Mon, 22 Jul 2019 14:29:00 GMT
Sea Turtle Hatchlings There's nothing like witnessing the birth of new life in the wild. Last season I watched these hatchlings crawl towards the ocean to begin their journey, one in which will be full of survival, adversary, and conflicts of man. They struggled to reach the water's edge dodging trash and sand castles along the way. Remember to always pick up your trash, reuse everything you can, ditch single use plastics, and spread the word. As this year's nesting season begins, let's make this journey as easy as possible for these little guys. I'm hoping to have some more success this nesting season, last one was amazing and I hope to use my images to spread awareness and push for conservation. 

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) animals aquatech biology boca raton conservation earth endangered fine art florida free dive nikon ocean photography planet recycle sea turtle sea turtle nesting sea turtles turtles underwater photography water housing wildlife Sat, 02 Mar 2019 04:41:00 GMT
Sea Turtle Nesting Season The nesting season has begun for sea turtles here in Florida! Conservation and ecological awareness is an important role that humans are responsible for during this time of year. Nearly every species of sea turtle is endangered, but YOU can take part in ensuring their survival as a species so that one day they can be removed from the endangered list. Some ways that you can help include picking up trash and plastic (especially off the beach), reducing plastic straw use because millions of plastic straws end up in the ocean year round. Taking reusable bags to the grocery store, this reduces the amount of plastic bags that could end up in the ocean or even a sea turtle's stomach! (mistaken for a jellyfish meal) Hundreds and millions of plastic items could be spared from our oceans if everybody just reused things such as bags or cups. So take your part in conservation by helping our sea turtle friends live happily and healthily. This photo was taken in Boca Raton, Florida. Boca is a hot spot for sea turtle nesting and it's coast is the habitat for hundreds and hundreds of turtles. Shot using a Nikon D750 w/ 10-24mm lens.

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) animals aquatech biology boca raton conservation earth endangered fine art florida free dive nikon ocean photography planet recycle sea turtle sea turtle nesting sea turtles turtles underwater photography water housing wildlife Tue, 17 Apr 2018 00:21:22 GMT
Manatee Appreciation Day! Just heard that it's Manatee Appreciation Day! What better way to celebrate than publishing a photo of mine from my recent manatee expedition in Crystal River Florida! During the winter months, manatees huddle by the hundreds within the clear waters of Crystal River's freshwater spring system.

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) aquatech conservation free dive manatee nikon ocean photography underwater photography water housing Wed, 28 Mar 2018 21:16:43 GMT
Florida Swells In March We've been blessed here in South Florida with the "winter" swells that have been rolling in, better late than never! This image was taken before sunrise with my Nikon D750 and 10-24mm lens, and was illuminated using an SB-5000 flash. Photos like this one are especially important to me because of the mission and process behind taking them. The process usually involves getting to the beach long before the sun rises, and swimming in the ocean alone and in the dark. Add a couple of powerful waves and a fairly heavy rig (especially with the on camera flash) and you end up with one challenging photoshoot. Also I shoot these flash shots in full manual mode, this makes the mission even more difficult when the job requires fidgeting with settings in the pre-sunrise dark. For me it just makes it worth while when an image like this is produced. Mission accomplished.

[email protected] (Kyle Soto Photography) photography surf surf photography water housing wave photography waves Tue, 27 Mar 2018 04:13:07 GMT