Beginner Underwater Photoshoot
This photo shoot was one of my favorite photo shoots of all time. I had the honor of shooting beautiful hand-made jewelry and flower head-pieces by Cosmik Souls. The most exciting part of it was that it was underwater and I am clearly a beginner.
Reuben Reynoso who specializes in underwater photography, had contacted me on Instagram and asked if I would be interested. I looked over his portfolio and was amazed by his beautiful work so of course, I was ecstatic to work with him.
On the day of the shoot, I was pretty nervous since it was my first time shooting underwater. Everyone on the team was very comforting and supportive. Instructions were clear, but still scary.
Underwater Photography Techniques for Beginners
Research & Plan
It is best if you look over poses before going under water. Since the environment is completely different, it is harder to concentrate on your look. I researched many graceful underwater shoots to analyze the model’s body and especially their expression. Since it is uncomfortable to be holding your breath, it is important to keep a calm face for the camera.
I was actually not able to rehearse very much since the flower head piece was hand-made and not suitable for underwater. If possible, rehearsing would be ideal in order to get used to the temperature, environment, and photographer.
Communication was simple for this shoot, since it was shot in a pool. We used hand signals before going down since breathing is crucial before going under. Make sure to understand your photographer’s signals and clarify anything before shooting. Never be afraid to ask questions or even repeat a question.
On Sinking & Floating
The most important things before going under:
- Take 3 deep breaths
- Exhale all the air out
- Then dive!
The 3 deep breaths allow oxygen into my blood stream and exhaling allows me to sink under water. If you want to float slightly, on the last breath out, exhale about half of your air before going down.
Staying Still/Moving for Shots Will Be Tricky
I had to remember to keep my toes pointed, arch my back, let my white choker/scarf flow and on top of that, I am not able to breathe (lol). Also, underwater photography environment tricky, so analyze where the lighting hits so you can point your face towards the lighting to have a good shot.
I did a few shots with the flower headpiece then after, we shot without it. It was definitely a lot easier without the flower piece. The flower piece kept floating up, so it was difficult to have it in place. Underwater, I felt kind of graceful. When I was down under, I pretended I was an underwater fairy or a mermaid. Maybe one day I can switch places with Ariel, from “The Little Mermaid” (lol).
Have Extra Hands
If possible, the photoshoot is much easier with extra hands. Other than the photographer and myself, there was a photographer assistant, makeup artist, and my manager. The makeup artist was very helpful in adjusting the flower headpiece and touching up make up. An assistant is definitely crucial if your underwater shoot is deeper than a regular pool (for the model’s safety).
Shoot Fast or Get Cold
If you are not shooting in the tropical, the human body can become cold when submerged underwater for a long period of time. Although the photoshoot took place in sunny California and in the middle of July, I became cold after 30 minutes. The shoot becomes unpleasant once you become cold so be quick!
I have been doing photo shoots since I was 18 years old. I did not like calling myself a “model” before because I was always afraid my peers would judge me; I was afraid people would view me as conceited or “full of it”. So, for years, I hid the fact that I modeled. I also lied to my friends every once in a while because whenever I had something exciting coming into place for myself, people would want to spend time with me because of what I did and not for who I was. Even my best friend at the time judged what I did. She made side remarks like back-handed compliments. I realized now, people who truly care about you would not do that. I should be proud about what I do, because it is a part of me.
Underwater Photography Team
Underwater Photographer: Reuben Reynoso
Check out more underwater photos on Instagram @ReynosoPhotography
Underwater Makeup Artist: Danielle Katherine
Check out more underwater photos on Instagram @DanielleKatherineMakeup
Underwater Photographer (Assistant): Ahjile Miller
Check out more ballerina photos on Instagram @AhjileMillerPhotography