Abstract. Many coral reef scientists including us spend much time underwater. Through our research, we meticulously collect data to document aspects of the natural world and the impacts of humanity on nature. However, communicating our nuanced and detailed findings to the broader public can be challenging. Photography is an extremely effective medium for conveying our research, and our emotions surrounding the natural world more broadly; indeed, many of us probably started pursuing careers in coral reef science after being inspired by the work of underwater photographers and filmmakers. Despite spending large amounts of time in photogenic places and doing interesting things, we often give little consideration to documenting our activities and subjects. In this seminar, we will provide an introduction to underwater photography. While some photographic principles apply both on land and underwater, the marine realm possesses some unique properties that should be considered when taking photographs underwater. We will cover subjects including basic photographic principles, composition, lighting, and post-processing to help you improve your underwater photography. We will also show you that you don’t need a great camera to take great pictures – but you do need to know how to get the most out of the camera you have. With communication of our research beyond the academic sphere becoming increasingly important, improving your underwater photography skills can provide a valuable tool to share your research to a broad audience.
Biography. Tom Bridge and Ed Roberts are both researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. They are also avid underwater photographers, and represent two-thirds of the team comprising the underwater photography website Tethys Images, www.tethys-images.com. After accumulating large photographic portfolios independently over many years and recognizing increased demand from scientific, government and conservation organisations, they decided to pool their resources and make their work available to a wider audience. They enjoy seeing their images used to benefit science, education and conservation of the natural environment. Their images have been featured on the covers of prestigious journals including Nature, Ecology Letters, Current Biology and Proceedings of the Royal Society B, government reports including the Australian Government’s National Marine Science Plan 2015-2025, and in public displays such as the new Cairns Aquarium.