The competition among underwater photographers is growing increasingly fierce. At the Deepblu Expert Spotlight Sessions at DEMA 2016 in Las Vegas, UW photography veteran Brent Durand shed light on how to succeed in this wildly exciting field.
There has never been a more exciting time to be an underwater photographer than right now. Rapid technological advancements and the rise of social media are democratizing the industry, making it easier for pros and amateurs alike to take breath-taking pictures and make a name for themselves. In a seminar called The Next Generation of Underwater Photography, accomplished underwater photographer Brent Durand focused on the past and present trends in the UW photography industry.
“Cameras Can Do It All”
As the Managing Editor of Underwater Photography Guide, Durand has been witness to many of the trends sweeping across the industry. Powerful new advancements in camera technology and post-processing software have made it so easy to snap underwater shots that Durand quipped that “cameras today can do it all.”
Durand highlighted two further innovations that have turned underwater photography into child’s play: Eye Autofocus and Dual Pixel RAW. The former keeps camera focus on a subject by locking onto its eyes as it moves or as the camera moves. Dual Pixel RAW allows photographers to alter the focus of an image after it is taken. These features greatly increase photographers’ ability to take pictures that will end up published or in their portfolio, by minimizing the chances that the subject, or subjects, will be out of focus.
Durand also touched on changes in workflow: photographers can now edit their images on portable laptops computers immediately after taking them, no matter where they are, and post them to their social media accounts immediately after. The vast improvements in image editing software have also made it ludicrously simple to completely change an image.
Editing images on your mobile device is as easy as a few button presses.
A Paradigm Shift for Pros
A side-effect of this, as well as of social media, the availability of cheaper and safer scuba diving gear and free online instruction on nearly any topic, is a paradigm shift for professional photographers. Where the pros once enjoyed a relatively untouchable status, Durand says, they now worriedly look on as hordes of newcomers are breaking into their domain, pushing down prices and pilfering their gigs.
The next generation of underwater photographers will face both challenges and opportunities as they try to make their mark on an industry in flux. Despite all this, Durand sees no reason for despair. “Determined underwater photographers can still lift themselves above the rabble,” he says. “Put yourself out there, share your work and do your best to shoot creative and unique images. Most importantly, be open to constructive criticism as feedback from your peers will help you grow.”
COSMIQ and Deepblu
This image of a playful baby seal was taken by Durand using a simple action camera. After his dive, he included it in his digital dive log on Deepblu.
Durand also pointed out that the Deepblu app is a perfect example of "a new way to share your dive adventures." He said he especially enjoys digging into the interactive dive profile you get when you use the COSMIQ Dive Computer to upload your dive data to Deepblu, which allows you to pinpoint the exact time and depth at which your photos and videos were taken. The value in this, he said, is that it's a way to create fun and engaging content in a format fit for the digital age we live in.
By: Ryan Patrick Jones, Community Editor at Deepblu
About Brent Durand
Brent Durand is the Managing Editor of Underwater Photography Guide. He works with photographers from around the world and manages the annual Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition. Brent also shoots underwater photos and leads workshops for Bluewater Photo.
Learn more about Brent at: http://www.brentdurand.com