How To Photograph Sharks

Photographing sharks isn't just for pros if you follow these steps.

Photographing sharks isn't just for pros? Not at all, Cat Gennaro says: Ordinary people can photograph them on shark-touring expeditions.


1. Pick A Novice-Friendly Sit:

Two of the best places to photograph sharks, Gennaro says, are close to the U.S. For cold-water species such as great whites, Guadeloupe is your best bet. For warm-water species such as tiger sharks and lemon sharks, visit Tiger Beach off of Grand Bahama Island. Both locations have clear water and an abundance of subjects.

2. Book With Pros:

Choose a touring company that comes recommended. For Guadeloupe, Gennaro suggests San Diego Shark Diving Expeditions (www.sdsharkdiving.com). For Tiger Beach, The Dream Team (www.sharkexpedition.com), out of West Palm Beach, FL. "Both put you in a controlled situation with a cage," Gennaro says.

3. Shoot Near The Surface:

You can easily shoot without flash down to 10 feet. But anywhere below 20 feet, you'll definitely need one. Since these can sometimes scare off the sharks, compose with precision and fire only when you have a shot lined up.

4. Use A Wide-Angle Lens:

Gennaro usually shoots with a 24mm. "You need that shark close, close. Then, go with autofocus. I shoot at 200 to 400 ISO." Try to avoid hand-shake, and "put your camera a bit outside the cage," to avoid getting bars in the frame.

5. Keep Both Eyes Open:

Should you choose to open-dive with sharks, don't turn your back to them. "Tiger sharks are pretty docile, but great whites are ambush predators," she says. "So you'll want to put your back up against the wall, or go with a safety diver." Also, "Don't bring your own bait."

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