Tim Tadder Explains the Best Way to Use Natural Light When Capturing Underwater Photographs

Tim Tadder is a man on a mission. One of the most prolific advertising photographer working today, his clients include the likes of New Era, Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, and a recent collaboration with the National Football League. In this video from an educational series Tadder produced in conjunction with RGG EDU, the photographer takes us through how to produce stunning underwater action images using only the natural light.

The video is full of useful information, from the basics such as remembering to wear a sun-resistant shirt when photographing under the bare sun for hours at a time, to the less obvious like selecting the positioning of his subject based on the location of the slope at the bottom of his pool. That last tip is part of the way Tadder uses nature’s grip equipment to elevate his imagery. In this case, he puts the swimmer into the lane where the pool itself transitions from deep to shallow. The resulting slope creates a natural bounce card to light up his subject. Great light. Little gear.

Similarly, he chose to shoot with the swimmer’s face traveling in the direction opposite the sun overhead. As a result, the sun bounces off the white pool wall in front of the swimmer and lights the subject's face. Conversely, the darker far wall (not being hit directly with sunlight) falls a bit darker and provides added separation from the background.

I am planning to have a longer article in the coming weeks with Tadder to further discuss his process. I'm looking forward to leaning more about his approach and sharing with the community. In the meantime, check out the video for additional tips and tricks. It is definitely worth a watch. You can also see more of Tadder’s awesome work by visiting his website.

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