Shark Photography

We all remember the horrifying movie Jaws. How that massive great white shark terrorized all the people in that seaside town until Roy Scheider eventually killed it. Since then, people have had a morbid fascination with sharks in general, not just great whites.

Get Rid of the View Finder

One of the most important rules to follow in shark photography is that you don’t need your camera’s view finder. This means you’ll have to start snapping your shark images by instinct alone, but it’s really for your own good (and safety).

After you’ve dealt with pre-setting your focus, you’re good to go. The more you get comfortable with working underwater and also with the view of different lenses (wide-angle, fisheye, etc.), the more naturally you’ll frame your shots underwater just by pointing your camera at the sharks.

Not having to deal with the view finder also leaves you free to be more aware of your surroundings – which is always helpful when you’re surrounded by potentially dangerous sharks.

The Perfect Lenses for the Job

Shark photography works best when you have the correct lenses. Ideally, you’ll want to use a wide-angle lens, and this is a general rule of thumb that applies to most cases of shark photography. If you want to go in closer still, you can use a macro lens, which is perfect for getting specific, interesting features of sharks up close and personal (such as neat markings or their eyes).

Then, there are also fisheye lenses that are meant for very wide shots if the shark is that close to you. The fisheye is your go-to lens if you want to capture numerous sharks together in the same shot. A 10-17mm fisheye works best in this situation, but at other times, it’ll be too wide.

When you want to shoot sharks that are unpredictable in their swimming patterns, go with the 12-24mm rectilinear option. If you’re in full frame, use anything in the 17–70mm range.

As for aperture, a maximum aperture of f/2.8 gives good results if you’re utilizing a fast lens. Alternately, f/4 with a constant aperture across the range also gives good outcomes.

Find the Sharks in the Best Places

Some parts of the world are just better suited for shark photography because of the plethora of sharks and the ease of access of the location. If you think you can just go into any saltwater area (read: any ocean) and have great opportunities, you’ll find a different story altogether.