When we started planning her senior portrait session last summer Elise presented me with a bit of a challenge. Since swimming is such a big part of her life she wanted to do some of her senior pictures at the pool.
Unless this is the first time here you’re probably giving the screen a confused look and wondering how I could possibly see this as a challenge. I do, after all, specialize in underwater portraiture. I work with a lot of swimmers. This request sounds like something that’s right up my alley doesn’t it?
Indeed it does.
Consequently we’d already done underwater portraits already twice before including a set just a month or two earlier.
So this needed to be different.
And still creative because I absolutely detest the traditional pool side cheese fest.
You know those lean-awkwardly-against-the-pool-ladder-handles swim team pictures that were popular when I was in high school and are still shamefully common today.
And after so many years swimming I’m sure she’s had plenty of those taken anyway.
I let the challenge simmer in the back of my mind in the days leading up to the shoot and arrived at the pool with a long list of possibilities dancing around my head. Some were more practical from the side of the pool than others. By the end I was glad to have an emergency backup swim suit stashed in the trunk of my car and the forethought to bring the underwater housing “just in case…”
We started with a few on the side of the pool before it opened for the day.
Just looking at this image gives me the calm and relaxed feel I tend to get anytime I’m around water:
I also love portraits with super shallow depth of field and loved using it here to make an image where the face is crystal clear and everything else falls out of focus. I love how the pool becomes a pretty background color but there is just enough details that anyone who has been to this pool would know just where we were:
While the pool was busy we took a little detour to her house and mixed things up a bit in her beautiful back yard.
And then back to the pool to play.
I soon accepted that I’d have to get in the water to make the images in my head appear in my camera.
What started as a goofy test shot to see what happens when I put a 10.5 fisheye into my ewa-marine bag turned into one of my favorites of the entire summer:
Once you’ve gotten that close you should probably just get in and play.