How to: prevent water drops from ruining your photos

Keeping water drops off your ports is essential in shooting good photos or video with your housing. One stray water drop can ruin the shot, so it is important to implement appropriate method of keeping your port clear.

There are two popular methods for water drop free shots; wet port and dry port.


Wet Port

Wet port is the easiest method, and refers to keep a thin, consistent layer of water on acrylic element of the port. This is best done by using the spit technique.

Before you enter the water:

  1. Ensure your port is free of dust and debris.
  2. Spit on your port and lick it, as to spread the spit evenly over the entire acrylic element.
  3. Let the spit semi-dry before entering the water. This usually takes 5-10 minutes.

In the water:

  1. Dunk the housing and then lick the port, as to remove any large spots of spit stuck to the port. Your port should now look clear.
  2. Hold your housing underwater until just before you want to take a shot. As you lift the housing out of the water there will be a thin layer of water sticking to the front of the port.
  3. Shoot!
  4. Return the housing to the water and wait for the next opportunity for a shot.


Quick Tips:

  • The performance of the spit technique will depend on what you have eaten or drunk before you shoot. Eating an apple or chewing a mint will help give your spit the right consistency for good results. I know one photographer who has a compartment dedicated to Mentos mints in his camera bag.
  • Spit and lick your port before hopping into your wetsuit and before loading your camera into the housing. This will give sufficient time for the spit to dry before you are ready to enter the water.
  • If you have let the spit semi-dry before entering the water you should not need to constantly lick the port throughout your session.
  • Do not use your fingers to spread the spit around as you will introduce unwanted oils from your skin onto the port.


Dry Port

Dry port refers to keeping your lens port completely free of water.

So, how are you supposed to keep your port dry if you are swimming in water!? Well, it is quite a tedious task, particularly if you are constantly diving under waves. However, once you practice it a few times you will get the hang of it and the results will speak for themselves.

Before you enter the water:

  1. Apply a small amount of unscented candle wax to the acrylic and buff it in using a clean, dry cloth. You want to buff it sufficiently so you don’t see a haze of candle wax. The port should look clear.

In the water:

  1. Lift the port out of the water and then use a squeegee to wipe away any water drops.
  2. Shoot!


Quick Tips:


So which method do you use?

It is best to experiment with both methods and find what gives you the best and most reliable results. These tips are based on what I have tried and tested in my 15 years of shooting surf photography and may not work for everyone.

My rule of thumb is:

Wet port method for dome ports, and flat ports when shooting with focal lengths <50mm.

Dry port method for flat ports when shooting focal lengths =>50mm.



  • 8mm fisheye / 6 inch dome port = wet port method
  • 25mm wide angle / flat port = wet port method
  • 85mm / flat port = dry port method
  • 70-200mm = dry port method

Some people swear by the dry port technique when using a flat port, even with wider lenses. And yet, some people swear by the wet port technique even when using longer telephoto lenses. So, simply use these tips as a starting guide, and experiment to find what works best for you with the lenses you shoot with, and the conditions you shoot in.