Of all the photos we create, it's the underwater photos, that are the most difficult to do. Although I have been shooting underwater for a few years now, it's still an uncomfortable feeling to submerge a digital camera in the water. One leak in the housing will result in a ruined camera. So I have a ritual where I check everything including the seals of the housing every time I go underwater. Once everything checks out, I am confident that I can safely shoot. Obviously, being unable to breathe is a challenge all it's own. I don't use scuba while I work underwater, I free dive with the models. This means I have to work fast, and my camera will sometimes sound like a machine gun, as I try to shoot as many photos as I can before I have to come back up for air. But it's not just fast photography, I'm doing, I also have to time my shots with the model who is also holding their breath. While I am trying to shoot quickly, I also have to shoot good images. This means timing each shot so that i don't end up with too many images that look all the same. I have to maintain my focus and keep the model inside the frame at all times, ready to shoot something that looks interesting. Even when I think everything is fine, I won't know for certain how the images will look until they are downloaded in the computer.
It takes a special model to work underwater. Besides being able to swim well, she has to be able to model underwater as naturally as possible and without looking like she's drowning. Most models aren't professional swimmers and since we ask them to wear an outfit complete with heels, it can be difficult for them. The more clothing that is worn, the more effort it takes to swim. A business suit with jacket, blouse, tight skirt, jewelry, and pumps takes more effort to swim in then a simple summer dress with flat sandals. Yet they have to be able to pull it off, making it all look effortless. For underwater, we like to take advantage of the unique environment to create unique wetlook images. We pick outfits that will look interesting underwater. A business suit is always interesting because it's one of those in your face kind of contradictions and business suits and water aren't supposed to go together. We sometimes pick outfits to do other things, such as float or flow. We like to use skirts that will ballon up or create a "revealing" sexy image, such as a skirt that floats up a bit too much or a blouse that pulls down a bit more than it's supposed to. Anything that isn't intended to be worn in the water is always key to successful wetlook. So it isn't common to see our models wear sweaters or boots or expensive looking outfits. For us, it adds to the art we try to capture.
One of the most difficult underwater shoots we have done, were those we did in the open ocean. For me as the photographer, and for the models, shooting in the ocean can be exhausting. The models and I have to wade out into water, deep enough to use and I will try to capture as many usable shots, and do it in a short period of time. 15 minutes is more than I want them to be out because I know that it's not easy. I also have to keep in mind that theres always a tide, which can drag us too far away. Safety is extremely important and no photo is worth a dangerous situation. Even in the ocean, most of our shots are either close to shore or close to a boat we may happen to be working from.
All of this work is to provide you the best in underwater wetlook photography, which we hope you will enjoy.