Take the plunge
Ever wanted to try an underwater portrait shoot but not sure how to go about it? James Paterson guides you through uncharted waters
Shooting an underwater portrait takes some planning, and some specialist kit, but you’ll end up with a set of photos to be proud of
With dedicated camera housings, waterproof lights and all manner of accessories, underwater photography can be expensive. The kit could easily cost thousands. But that type of gear is built to withstand the open seas. In a swimming pool, you don’t need to jump in at the financial deep end and you can achieve great results at a fraction of the cost.
It’s not the easiest shooting environment, but being underwater has an effect on hair and clothes that’s impossible to find anywhere else. As such, the swimming pool at your local sports centre, school or even a holiday villa is the ideal place to stage a portrait shoot with a difference. You could capture the kids having fun, or go all-out for an underwater fashion shoot like this.
As for the gear, all you need is a waterproof D-SLR bag like the ewa-marine case we used here. These are soft, so you control the camera through the material. They’re far cheaper than dedicated hard underwater housings, and fit for purpose on a shoot like this. Slightly more involved is the lighting. While it’s possible to use ambient light alone (especially in outdoor pools), light falls off very quickly and turns blue as it passes through water, so for greater clarity, a couple of flashguns, also placed in waterproof bags, will do the job. Here’s how…