Photographer Spotlight - Ren Taylor
I am excited to introduce my March Underwater Photographer - Ren Taylor. She was one of my first customers (!!!) and is currently a Dive Master and photographer in Hawaii. She makes stunning Reels, takes amazing drone videos as well as underwater photos and videos, and of course - loves a good Nudibranch. You can follow her at @renjay - Keep reading to find out more about Ren and her journey with Underwater Photography!
Aloha! I’m Ren and I am a Dive Master and underwater photographer. I am currently in Oahu Hawaii.
I have been in love with the ocean as far back as I can remember. It definitely started with tide pooling as a little girl, and then onto snorkeling/free diving. And now as a Dive Master.
How and why did you get started with photography? Tell the community a little about your photography setup!
I remember growing up watching Steve Irwin and Nat Geo and wanting to be out there capturing wildlife to share with the world. This started my love for photography.
I’ve gone through several brands of photography equipment but today I use a Sony a 7RIV in an Ikelite housing with Sea&Sea strobes. If there’s anything that’s a must-have its lighting - whether it be a full strobe set up or a simple dive light. However, I used a simple cheap dive light for many years and it works wonderfully if you don’t have a huge budget. As far as dive equipment goes, I use a Scubapro reg set up and BC. I use a Mares or Aqualung mask and either Mares or Gull fins. I hardly wear a wetsuit, but if and when I do, it’s Waihana (locally made in Hawaii).
What is your favorite Sea Slug and where can you find them?
As for a favorite sea slug, that is very hard to choose because I love them all. If I had to choose a favorite though, I’d say it’s the Costasiella Kuroshimae aka Sheep Slug. They’re such cute little things! I love that they look like they have a little faces, and they were also discovered in Japan the same year that I was born. They are found in Hawaii and the Indo-West Pacific.
Your go-to resource for identifying nudibranchs or other creatures you see underwater?
My go to for ID is Google but it usually leads me back to marinelifephotography.com. This is a great site for both Nudibranchs and other sea creatures.
Where is your favorite place to dive or explore the ocean? Also where are a few places at the top of your bucket list?
I haven’t dove in many places, but Hawaii definitely has my heart. I don’t care for cold water, but I absolutely adore California Diving. I have to say Palau is my top bucket list destination.
Your goals for underwater photography or diving?
My main goal is to share the beauty of the underwater world, but I also love to learn and teach whatever I can. My other goal/dream is to become a Nat Geo photographer.
Lastly, some tips and tricks for other underwater photographers who are just getting started.
For those of you just starting out don’t beat yourself up when it’s not perfect! There’s a ton of trial and error, especially with a new equipment. It’s a big learning process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, google stuff and watch YouTube videos. Even after years in the water and practicing photography, I’m still learning.