Typically we don’t post a portrait client on the Workshop Blog, but there’s something very different about this Session. There’s a first time for everything, and we had so much fun trying our hand at underwater photography, specifically maternity photography Jessica approached us with a vision, and we never turn down a client with such unique ideas.
We came across a lot of challenges, but Jessica was patient and a great model.We rented an underwater housing unit for the camera and went to work! It took a lot of wonderful connections, with some tips from many friends but the end product is pretty cool! Because this was a maternity session and not just an average underwater portrait session, we went in knowing we had to work with Jessica and monitor her closely. She’s not due until the end of April, but a swimming pregnant lady should still take it easy. Water changes the appearance of everything, especially distorting light. We had two underwater photography flashes, but for some reason, despite great training we couldn’t get them to slave-fire. So instead, we had to settle with an off-camera flash above the water. That’s why you see speckled lighting on all of her skin where we didn’t spend time photoshopping the dancing lights out.
We started in the shallow end with some above/below water pictures. These images turned out so graceful and lovely. Jessica is just glowing with beauty. The lighting falls perfectly on her skin!When we started above water, we were having trouble with the extreme fall off of light on her face. Because we had limited locations to place the off-camera lighting, we needed to work with our surroundings. If you’ve ever been to a workshop, we talk about how important it is to use any surface to reflect lighting. In most cases we use a designated reflector, but there are a lot of natural reflectors out there. In this case there were none. Thinking we were going to be underwater, we did not bring our own reflector. So in a moment of desperation the assistant on duty found two white kick-boards to hold together to use as a reflector! They were awesome! The white, and now wet kickboard bounced the light that you see reflecting in Jessica’s eyes in the above water pictures! Talk about listening in class!
This is a behind the scenes picture of using whatever you can for a reflector! It’s great to get creative! You see Michael holding up the two kickboards to bounce light into Jessica’s face. Sorry for the poor quality. Definitely an iPhone pic =)
We did our research before going into this shoot, so we were prepared with many things, long colored fabrics being one of them. The way fabric floats and bends and catches light underwater is unlike anything else! Also unlike anything else, once the fabric gets wet it gets extremely heavy. So to air on the side of caution, we always had a swimmer near Jessica to take the fabric from her. Often times trading her floats for the fabric. After playing with lighting in the shallow end we ventured into the deep end. Jessica was amazing! Looking graceful underwater isn’t easy! There are so many things to think about that come across as ‘ugly’ in the final product if you’re not paying attention! But Jessica truly shined! She pointed her toes, looked at the camera and made swimming with fabric look effortless. I hope more people want to do underwater maternity photography. It was such a neat experience and there’s only one way to go when trying something new!