About Shooting Underwater
How do I know if an underwater session is right for me?
An underwater session isn't for everyone, however, I think most people can enjoy it and have fun with it! If you know how to swim somewhat, are comfortable in the water and able to open your eyes underwater and hold your breath, then you'll be fine. I shoot in shallow pools usually around 5-7 ft for your comfort and safety- wearing a heavy dress & clothes takes a lot out of you! You DON'T need to be a champion breath holder- if you can hold your breath at least 15-20 seconds, that is plenty. I can't hold my breath that long either :)
Do I need to be an excellent swimmer?
Not really! I encourage people to at least be comfortable underwater- you will need to be able to open your eyes for some shots underwater, and not look panicked, but you don't need to be Michael Phelps either. I shoot in shallow pools for safety reasons, most pools people can stand up in and I only do what my clients are comfortable with.
Do you use a particular pool? What happens if I don't have a pool at my residence?
I shoot in a variety of pools- mostly my clients' but I am currently on the hunt for a "studio pool" that I use regularly. If you don't have a pool, not to worry, I do have a few pools at my disposal or you can ask some friends if we can borrow theirs. I find that lots of people have or know of someone that has a pool here in Phoenix.
Can we shoot at a public pool?
In general, I find that public pools aren't conducive for underwater sessions, but it varies case by case. Generally, they are too cloudy due to the amount of chlorine they use which interferes with the quality of the photos as well as irritates your eyes. Not to mention most public pools have... well... lots of people that can come in at any time which can be distracting. Also I have found that a lot of public places don't want to mess with the liability of an underwater photo shoot, even though I carry my own liability insurance and am CPR certified and never shoot in deep pools. That said, if you have a well maintained public pool you know of, let me know and I can reach out to them and see if it would work, there are always exceptions!
What gear do you use to shoot underwater?
I shoot with my Canon 5Dmkii in an Ikelite housing- a polycarbonate, clear case that goes around my camera and allows me to access to my camera's buttons. I shoot mostly natural light but occasionally experiment with underwater strobes. I like to keep things as simple as possible! I don't use SCUBA equipment when shooting, just breath holding with some weights on a belt.
Wardrobe & Make Up
Do you provide wardrobe/make up?
I do not, however I am happy to suggest great places to find cheap wardrobe options & waterproof make up I have found to work somewhat. Make up is tricky because for the most part, most "waterproof" make up is not "underwater proof"- though I find that it works well enough for a session. I also have some make up artist contacts if you wish to have your make up done professional at an additional cost.
Will my clothes/dress get ruined?
This is a common concern. I find that generally cottons & synthetic fabrics hold up surprisingly well underwater. Of course I can't guarantee that any clothes will dry looking exactly like they did before they got wet, but I have yet to have a dress ruined by water. I don't recommend bringing along your grandmother's wedding dress if you are sentimentally attached and would be devastated if it got damaged, nor would I recommend bringing your raw silk $5000 Vera Wang if you care if it gets damaged, but in general, the water causes less damage than you would think in most cases. Worried? You can also always buy a cheap dress on sale or at Ross or Goodwill!
What sort of clothes look best underwater?
I have found that flowy dresses look fantastic underwater- as do sheer fabrics such as tulle. Brighter, more saturated colors look best underwater, or white or black. If you have a specific color in mind to incorporate into your shoot and are worried about how it will show up, contact me and we can chat about options such as bringing in a backdrop!
Wardobe & Make Up
Should I bring props?
Props are fun, but only bring them if they have some sort of meaning to you or you are creating a "theme" to your shoot. I like to keep sessions as simple as possible. Talk to me when planning your session and we can come up with some ideas & plan the session around that!
Types of Underwater Sessions
What types of underwater sessions do you shoot?
I shoot couples of all types (I am also LGBT friendly!) for trash the dress sessions, engagement sessions, anniversary sessions and the like. I also love shooting high school and college seniors underwater- whether in combination with an above water session or as a separate session or trash the prom dress shoot. I also shoot a little bit of underwater maternity, and underwater boudoir. I do not, however shoot babies underwater due to liability.