To strobe or not to strobe has been the long asked question. In many ocean and spring-fed conditions a strobe is completely applicable. But, if you’re in a man-made lake a strobe simply creates backscatter and on a deep dive it is even worse with the low light and low visibility conditions. Guess what, I have a couple of solutions for you!
Tin foil is the photographer’s and videographer’s best friend. It can fix a shadowing problem in a pinch AND it’s cheap. Devise yourself a frame to mount a piece of foil to so that you can take it on a dive. Be extra careful not to damage the foil on the way down. If you have enough daylight above, you can use it as a reflector to illuminate shadowed areas under an object, in crevaces, and even behind some objects.
Not enough light or direct light from your hand held causing a problem? Well simply take a dive light down with you and you can do the same thing (works great for daytime deep dives in lakes). This type of use may require the use of a dive buddy to adjust the angle and direction of the reflection.
Next, learn how to set the white balance. A custom white balance setting can make even 15-20 foot visibility seem like 50-60 foot visibility. This is an absolute must if you’re shooting video from a point and shoot digital camera (worked well on my Powershot A80). It only takes a little cloud cover to ruin what visibility you previously had. That custom setting should be taken at depth and at the site you are taking stills or video of.
Truly read the manual! An avid user will now how to change the ISO and aperature settings to allow for higher quality picutres and more/less light. A simple aperature change can mean the difference between a black/shadowed picture and a reasonable quality picture. Lower ISO means less digital noise.
NEVER use the digital zoom. This simply pixelates the picture or video and emphasizes any movement or shaking you might input intentional or accidental.
Set the camera to take the highest resloution it is capable of (have the appropriately sized media to allow for increased image sizes).
Edit edit edit. Use a program like Photoshop or another picture editing program of your choice to edit your pictures as needed. There you should be able to make all the desired adjustments. Be sure to get the opinions of others before you finalize your product. Make 100% sure that you always retain the original picture file...create a new save file for your edits!