So just how do you go about taking an underwater portrait like the one above? It was a challenge I happened upon a couple of weeks back and I thought I’d share my experiences with you.
There were two ways of going about it, buy waterproof housing for the camera, which I now own and will use in future, or as we used on this shoot, get yourself a 6 metre long by 2 metres wide, 22,000 litre filming tank called the Aquatheatre, complete with 2 inch thick acrylic windows as used by synchronized swimmers Aquabatique on Britain’s Got Talent and keep yourself nice and dry!
The tank itself was pretty impressive, but from a photography perspective it presented a lot of challenges! Firstly the tank is quite reflective and at times I could see myself in the reflection on the photo, this was simply due to the location the tank had been set up in and given its size, it is not something you can just pick up and move about! Secondly, the tank is scratched with some fairly heavy scratches, though nothing which couldn’t be removed in Photoshop easily enough.
It took some good sized studio lights provided by Aquatheatre, who are based in Peterborough to get the tank lit up correctly and then it was down to the model to do her thing. Luckily, my model for the day was excellent, had no trouble opening her eyes underwater and bought with her a couple of costumes and props to be used on the day, the mirror in the image being one of them.
I’d love to say I had the image planned in my head when arriving, but it was one of them “right place, right time” happenings that the light which had been causing so many hassles all afternoon with reflections, hit the mirror and reflected back onto my models face just as she was looking into it.
I don’t mind a little luck along the way if it gives me portraits like these!