Exploring the Underwater Wonders of Lombok: A Guide to Capturing Stunning Marine Life and Vibrant Coral Reefs through Underwater Photography

1/7/20244 min read

man bathing under the sea while holding black camera
man bathing under the sea while holding black camera

Underwater photography is a fascinating niche within the world of photography, allowing enthusiasts to capture the breathtaking beauty of marine life and vibrant coral reefs. Lombok, an Indonesian island located in the West Nusa Tenggara province, offers a plethora of stunning locations for underwater photography. With its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine ecosystem, Lombok presents a paradise for photography enthusiasts seeking to create memorable snapshots of the island's aquatic beauty.

The Gili Islands: A Haven for Underwater Photography

One of the most popular destinations for underwater photography in Lombok is the Gili Islands. Comprised of three small islands - Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno - the Gili Islands are renowned for their pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and abundant marine life.

Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, offers numerous dive sites suitable for both beginners and experienced underwater photographers. The waters surrounding Gili Trawangan are home to an array of marine creatures, including colorful coral reefs, turtles, reef sharks, and a variety of tropical fish. The famous Turtle Heaven and Shark Point are must-visit spots for capturing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Gili Air and Gili Meno, though smaller in size, also offer fantastic opportunities for underwater photography. These islands boast vibrant coral gardens teeming with an abundance of marine life. Snorkeling and diving around Gili Air and Gili Meno will allow you to capture stunning images of clownfish, moray eels, and other fascinating species.

Exploring Lombok's South Coast: Secret Gems for Underwater Photography

While the Gili Islands are the go-to destination for many underwater photography enthusiasts, Lombok's south coast also hides some secret gems waiting to be discovered. Here are a few lesser-known locations that offer exceptional opportunities for capturing Lombok's aquatic beauty:

1. Sekotong Peninsula

The Sekotong Peninsula, located on the southwest coast of Lombok, is a hidden paradise for underwater photographers. With its secluded bays and untouched coral reefs, this area provides a serene environment to capture stunning images. The underwater landscape of Sekotong Peninsula features vibrant coral gardens, schools of colorful fish, and even the occasional encounter with sea turtles.

2. Belongas Bay

Belongas Bay, situated on the south coast of Lombok, is known for its dramatic underwater topography and strong currents. This unique combination creates an ideal environment for capturing awe-inspiring images of pelagic species, such as barracudas, manta rays, and even hammerhead sharks. However, due to the challenging conditions, this location is recommended for experienced underwater photographers.

3. Mawun Beach

While primarily known for its stunning above-water scenery, Mawun Beach also offers fantastic opportunities for underwater photography. The clear waters surrounding Mawun Beach are home to a variety of marine life, including colorful reef fish and fascinating critters. Snorkeling around the rocky outcrops near the beach can lead to unexpected encounters with unique underwater creatures.

Tips for Capturing Stunning Underwater Images

Now that you know some of the best locations for underwater photography in Lombok, here are a few tips to help you capture stunning images:

1. Invest in the Right Equipment

Underwater photography requires specialized equipment to ensure the best results. Consider investing in an underwater housing for your camera, which will protect it from water damage. Additionally, using a wide-angle lens can help capture the vastness of the underwater landscape, while a macro lens is ideal for capturing close-up shots of smaller marine creatures.

2. Master Buoyancy Control

Proper buoyancy control is crucial for underwater photographers. Being able to maintain a neutral buoyancy allows you to move effortlessly through the water and position yourself for the perfect shot. Practice your buoyancy control skills before embarking on your underwater photography adventure.

3. Understand Natural Lighting

Light behaves differently underwater, and understanding how to work with natural lighting is essential for capturing stunning images. As you descend into the depths, the colors of the visible spectrum diminish. To compensate for this, consider using strobes or external flash units to add artificial light and restore the vibrant colors of the underwater world.

4. Patience is Key

Underwater photography requires patience and persistence. Marine creatures may be shy or elusive, so it's important to approach them slowly and avoid sudden movements that could scare them away. Spend time observing their behavior and be prepared to wait for the perfect moment to capture that extraordinary shot.

Preserving the Underwater Environment

As underwater photographers, it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the fragile marine ecosystems we capture through our lenses. Here are a few guidelines to follow to ensure minimal impact on the underwater environment:

1. Respect Marine Life

Do not touch or disturb marine life while capturing your images. Maintain a respectful distance from the creatures and refrain from chasing or harassing them. Remember, we are guests in their underwater world.

2. Do Not Damage Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are delicate ecosystems that play a vital role in supporting marine life. Avoid touching or standing on coral reefs, as even the slightest contact can cause irreversible damage. Be mindful of your movements and maintain good buoyancy control to prevent accidental contact.

3. Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen

When snorkeling or diving, use reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin without harming the marine environment. Traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that can be harmful to coral reefs and other marine life.

4. Leave No Trace

Ensure that you do not leave any trash or litter behind when exploring underwater locations. Take all your belongings with you and dispose of any waste properly on land.

By following these guidelines, we can contribute to the preservation of Lombok's underwater ecosystems and ensure that future generations can also enjoy the beauty of these natural wonders.


Lombok, with its stunning marine life and vibrant coral reefs, offers a paradise for underwater photography enthusiasts. Whether you choose to explore the popular dive sites around the Gili Islands or venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems along Lombok's south coast, the opportunities for capturing breathtaking images are endless. Remember to invest in the right equipment, master buoyancy control, and respect the underwater environment to create memorable snapshots of Lombok's aquatic beauty. Happy shooting!