The AxisGO underwater housing for iPhone from AquaTech Imaging Solutions is a completely waterproof phone casing that is designed to fit around your specific iPhone Model. It is equipped with a 6″ acrylic dome lens and an optional pistol grip for ease of shooting. The AxisGO is an easy-to-use underwater housing unit that can take your fly fishing photography to the next level.
We have been using these underwater housing units for a number of years and find them easy to operate with some basic knowledge. Photographing in the water can create a variety of different scenarios some of which can be problematic for the images. Below you will find a basic guide on how to operate your AxisGO to create stunning underwater imagery for your fly fishing adventures.
Step 1: Prepping Your AxisGo for the Water
Before taking your AxisGO out on the water we highly recommend making sure everything is watertight so you don’t soak your iPhone. As you unpackage the product be sure to put the O-Rings to complete the seal on your housing. Close the latch on the housing, making sure you hear an audible click (you have to push harder than you think). Attach the dome, then submerse for 20 seconds without your phone. Once completed, open up the housing to see if any water has penetrated the inside. Then repeat these steps with your iPhone in the case. This is also a good time to connect the Bluetooth of your Pistol grip. After you have the water tested your AxisGO, you are ready to hit the water.
Pro-Tip: When attaching your dome to the housing, make sure the dome is extremely tight. Ask a friend to help you to hold the housing as you tighten the dome to be 100% sure that no water or moisture will enter the unit.
Step 2: Hit the Water and Keep the Moisture Out.
One very important point to remember is to keep all the moisture out of the dome and the housing. This means while you are on the water store the unit in a dry area and make sure the latch and dome are tightened. It also means to make sure to dry off your iPhone prior to putting it into the unit. If you have wet hands from handling a fish, dry them off before handling your iPhone. The moisture on your phone can create just enough humidity in the unit to cause the photos to come out a little blurry (see photo above).
Step 3: On the Water Cleaning:
Prior to taking any photos, make sure that the exterior of the dome is clean of all debris. A quick microfiber cloth mixed with a cleaning solution like a lens cleaner will work best. If you are in a pinch, saliva will also do the trick. Be sure to be aware of the water drips on the dome and dip in the water if you want to clear some of the water droplets.
Step 4: Take Photos
Once your iPhone is securely placed into the housing, it is time for the magic to happen. Below you will find various different tips we have discovered when taking photos with the AxisGo.
Photo Tip #1: Dial in Your iPhone Camera Settings
We have found that setting your iPhone to “Live Photo” can work well for non-static subjects like fish. After the fact, you can go through the live photo and pick which frame you prefer. Instead of one frame, you get many.
A few settings we like include putting the iPhone to ‘Auto-Lock’ to never. This makes the screen not lock while you are trying to photograph. Another setting is to set the Display & Brightness to Auto-Lock.
Photo Tip #2: Let the Turbidity of the Water Settle
Different water will have different turbidity. Whether you are fishing a sand flat, mid flat, rocky bottom, or silty bottom it will all look a little different in photos and impact the way your image looks. Any sort of footsteps will often stir up the river or lake’s bottom causing debris to float around. When you are using your AxisGo, let the turbidity of the water settle before photographing and do your best to limit movement. If the photographer steps upstream of the angler the debris will often be swept downstream away from the subject.
Photo Tip #3: Use the Sun to Your Advantage – Change Your Shooting Angle Based on Sun Direction
The sun plays a big factor in how the water will look in a photo. If you were to go out early in the morning and evening during the golden hour and try to shoot underwater photos, they would most likely come out very dark. So strictly for AxisGO underwater photos, seek out sunlight. This light will be penetrating the water creating light in the water that will bring your photo to life.
Be aware of where the sun is and change the shooting angle based on this. Every piece of water will be different as they vary in clarity so mess around a little bit when you are out on the water and take a few photos with the sun at your back and then switch to see the difference.
Photo Tip #4: Use the Wide Angle Setting on Your iPhone
Specifically, when you are photographing fish, use the wide-angle setting on your iPhone. This will make the subject appear both wider and taller while keeping most everything in focus.
Photo Tip #5: Tap Your Focus Point
When you are taking underwater photos, one helpful tip is to tap the focus point. Whether that may mean clicking the underwater fish in the frame or clicking above water to focus on an angler or boat. Your iPhone will do a decent job at picking a focal point but to be sure you are getting the correct subject by clicking the screen.
Photo Tip #6: For Video Use the Slomo Setting
Filming a fish release with AxisGO is 100% recommended!! The AxisGO is a great tool to capture a fish release, be sure to set your video settings onto the slow-motion setting. More often than not the fish will swim away as fast as it can, so the slow motion setting of your iPhone will capture the whole sequence. After you have filmed the video, go to the settings of the video and alter the slow-motion sequence to focus on a specific part of the video.
Step 5: Storing Your AxisGO
After a day on the water with your AxisGO, you will notice a little bit of moisture may have gotten inside of the dome and housing, especially if you go from the wet and cold to the dry and warm. Open up the AxisGO in a cool dry space to let it dry out for use the next day. Do not leave it in your bag overnight especially if it was a rainy day. And if you did use it in the saltwater, a freshwater rinse is necessary.
There you have it, hopefully, these tips outlined above will help you get familiar with how to use the AxisGO. It is without a doubt a super easy tool that gives almost anyone the ability to take amazing underwater photos. If you have yet to purchase an AxisGO be sure to check out our previous Gear Review: AxisGO Waterproof Case for iPhone.