Wide-Angle Underwater Photography with One Strobe

By Scott Gietler

Recently I was charging the batteries from one of my strobes in-between dives. I forgot to put the batteries back in, so underwater I soon realized that I was only shooting with one strobe!

Well I figured, let's turn this into a learning opportunity, play around with strobe positions, and create some wide-angle photos with just one strobe. I had my Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens on. I was diving at Anacapa Island in the Northern Channel Islands in Southern California.

Visibility wasn't great, maybe 10 meters, but it wasn't bad for the area.

Here's what I took on that dive:

underwater photography with one strobe

F7, 1/200th, ISO 400. Red sea fans


red sea fan diver

Red Sea fan with diver

wide-angle with one strobe underwater

F10, 1/160th, ISO 500. Rarely seen Gurney's Sea pen, and my dive buddy. The dome port is almost touching the sea pen.

giant black sea bass, one flash

F7, 1/160th, ISO 500. 2 meter long giant black sea bass, fleeing the scene. Unless they are in a mating/cleaning area, most black sea bass are quite skittish.

large halibut underwater photo

F9, 1/160th, ISO 500. Behavior shot. Large 1.5 meter Halibut taking off from the sand.


I was pretty happy with the lighting that I got with one strobe.


Strobe position for wide-angle with one strobe

 one strobe underwater

 single strobe position


Underwater photo tips for using one strobe

  • Use your diffuser

  • Don't point the strobe right at the subject, point it straight ahead

  • The further away the subject, the further the strobe should be from the housing

  • Shoot wide, get close!



Further Reading


Wide-Angle Underwater Photography with One Strobe
Scott Gietler


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips


Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.