More Macro Worthy Subjects Underwater

The best part about underwater photography is the sheer number and variety of subjects to photograph. While it’s cool to spot the big stuff like sharks, rays, turtles etc, some of the best underwater photographs are of the smallest creatures of the sea. One blink and you can miss them. The patterns, textures of colors of these small fish, invertebrates and even coral or anemone is stunning when captured by underwater macro photography. In our previous post on the subject we took a look at some of the most popular subjects of underwater macro photography that included Nudibranchs, the Leafy Sea Dragon, Mantis Shrimp, Mandarinfish and the ever popular clownfish.Here’s a look at some more small creatures that are great subjects for macro photography underwater-

Flamingo Tongue Snails
This one inch creature makes for great pictures because of the bright orange-yellow markings on its shell. The snail itself resembles nudibranchs which are by far the most popular macro photography subjects underwater. An interesting fact to note though is that although it appears that the shell of the snail is brightly colored, the shell is a plain with no markings at all. The colors we see are not on the shell itself, but are due to the thin flaps of live mantle tissue which usually cover the shell.

Flamingo Tongue Snails

An instant favorite subject of underwater photography is the seahorse. Always a joy to photograph, seahorses aren’t has hard to capture in a good frame when they’re perched. Seahorses are the only animals in the entire animal kingdom in which the male, not the female gives birth and cares for their young! The female seahorse deposits the eggs into the male’s small pouch like a kangaroo where the eggs are fertilized and where the baby seahorses grow until it is time for them to be born.Seahorses are monogamous and mate for life! Every morning, they come together with their partner, dance, change their color, twirl around with linked tails and then separate for the rest of the day.

Macro Worthy Subjects- seahorsesMacro Worthy Subjects- seahorse

Whether it’s the brightly colored imperator shrimp that’s the fraction of the size of a fingernail and lives in a symbiotic relationship with several nudibranch species as well as some sea cucumbers, or the hard to spot anemone shrimp they are always fun to find and photograph.
Although not the easiest subjects to capture, the colors, textures they sit on and sometimes their transparency add up to make brilliant photos. The varieties of shrimp you can capture too are endless like cleaner shrimp, tiger shrimp, popcorn shrimp, harlequin shrimp, hingeback shrimp, whip shrimp, mantis shrimp and so on.

Macro Worthy Subjets- Imperator ShrimpMacro Worthy Subjets- Anemone Shrimp

Ghost Pipefish
The Ghost pipefish is one of those sea creatures that divers simply love, mainly due to the fact that these tiny creatures are so difficult to spot, blending in so well with their surroundings, that often the only way to see ghost pipefish is to dive with an experienced dive master who knows where they live on the reef. When you do spot them however and not mistake them for coral, they are full of colors that show up well in underwater macro photographs like the ones below.

Macro Worthy Subjets- Harlequin Ghost Pipefish
Macro Worthy Subjets- Ornate Ghost Pipefish

Related Articles:

5 Easy and Practical Tips for Taking Underwater Macros
Underwater Photography: Basic Tips for Taking Good Underwater Pictures
10 Underwater Photography Tips for Beginners
Understanding Light for Underwater Photography
Using Filters for Underwater Photography

*Photo Credits: photos by laszlo-photo, San Diego Shooter, Scubaben, doug.deep, Stephen Childs on flickr


  1. Wow, cool stuff…I’m not a diver, but I love macro photography. I’m sure you need quick reflexes to catch some of the speedy critters seen here…except for the snails, of course.

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