If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t just use a video light rather than fiddling with flash, you’re not alone. According to underwater equipment retailer Backscatter, it’s among their most commonly asked questions. After all, there are continuous lights touted as “photo/video” lights out there, so why bother struggling with strobes when you could use a pair of “always-on” lights for everything?
Interestingly, the answer—strobes are nearly always better for stills—goes to the heart of what it takes to create most successful underwater images: lighting your foreground subject adequately relative to the background, freezing that subject’s motion (i.e., avoiding blurry photos), and making its colors pop. In all but a few situations, only the flash of very bright light from a strobe will allow all those things to happen.
Breaking all this down is crucial to appreciating the fundamentals of taking underwater photos, and that’s exactly what Backscatter does in their latest published article, “Strobes vs. Video Lights for Underwater Photography”: In their accompanying video, CEO Jim Decker and Media Producer Robin Dodd explore not just why these two light sources are different, but also how these differences affect your ability to shoot great pictures—with lots of persuasive examples.
The bad news for beginner photographers: You will have to master the use of strobes. But the good news is that once you do, your pictures will look way, way better! If you’re a newbie, this is essential reading/watching. Check it out here.
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