Several years ago I wrote an article for FiNS magazine entitled ‘A Photographer’s Responsibility‘. My aims in writing this article were to improve people’s photography but also for them to consider the welfare of the animals they were photographing. There was quite a lot of feedback about this article from dive centres and conservation organisations wishing to use it to show to their guests and raise awareness of the marine environment. I was really pleased by this, as it’s a subject very dear to my heart.
The Do’s and Don’ts came about through my experience as a photographer but also as an ethologist, studying animal behaviour. Several dive centres, including Wakatobi Dive Resort and Lembeh Resort, have printed the Do’s and Don’ts section of the article to stick up on the wall of their camera room. I decided to create the attachment below to make an easy to print and share document with the hope that the message will reach a wider audience.
The lesson here is that photographers will get the best images they possibly can when the animal they’re photographing feels content and secure. The instant an animal feels threatened it will become defensive making everything much harder. Obviously a goal of all divers should be to limit their disturbance to the organisms they come across so these do’s and don’ts are also applicable to non-photographers too.
The brilliant drawings are by Mean Mora who also kindly helped when I was creating the Code of Conduct for diving with and photographing pygmy seahorses as part of my PhD.
Attachment: Underwater Photography tips.pdf