Like any photographer, your gear is important and a highly personal experience. Unlike other photographers, underwater photographers need to have both a solid photography kit as well as great scuba equipment so I’ll talk about both here.
The equipment you use is a natural progression. My first underwater camera I ever used was my dad’s Canon G-12 in a Canon housing. No strobes, just an underwater point and shoot basically, using strictly ambient or natural light. Honestly, the G-12 captured some really great images. So good, that I won a number of photo awards in high school. One in particular, the Omar Cooper Award lead me to the South Florida Underwater Photo Society and a member Chris Guglielmo my first mentor who helped me learn the basics for DSLR underwater photography.
Probably more important than having great photography equipment, you diving equipment provides comfort, convenience and most of all safety. Like my photography equipment, my diving equipment has been an evolution and is dictated by both budget and diving circumstances that is unique to everyone.