What’s an underwater portrait session like?

Glad you asked.  Don’t worry – you’re not alone in wondering – most people have never seen anything like this before and are curious just how it all comes together.   I get this and similar questions all the time.  I’ve also had a number of people ask me what ages I can photograph underwater and  if they need to be a strong swimmer to have a great underwater experience.   (I’ll photograph any age, the ability to swim is nice but not required for a great experience, most images are taken in shallow water and parents are in the pool with those who cannot swim or touch the bottom.)

Other videos I’ve posted have been with older children, adults, or swim teams so I thought it might help if I posted a behind the scenes look at a family session with a two year old that loves the water.

The only other question I get more is what equipment I am using for underwater portraits so I thought I’d finally include some geek speak for the photographers who are curious or looking to try underwater portraiture:

The housing is the Ewa-Marine ubxp-100
which I love – especially when working with younger children or shooting anything in the pool or shallow ocean water.

It might sound silly but one of the things I love most is that it floats.  I can just let it go and have both hands free to adjust fabric, demonstrate posing, etc. and not hold on to it or swim to the side and set it on the edge of the pool.   This was an added bonus that I hadn’t planned on.

I actually picked it over other housing options because  it works with many camera body styles, has space for a flash if I need one, and has the ability to screw in a lens to the front port to keep it in place.   Plus you are adjusting the dials directly so you don’t need to relearn where everything is like I had to with a hard case style housing.  It’s also lightweight and great for travelling.

My Ikelite is a great housing but almost always got my carry on opened and inspected at the airport.   Plus it was like 12 pounds or so.

Inside the ewa-marine housing is a  Nikon D700and Tokina 12-24mm(Yes, a dx lens works on a full frame body, Nikon is awesome like that. ) I could go on for a very long time why I love the D700 but I’ll summarize by pointing out that even after a couple years I feel no need to upgrade because it does everything I need.  And then some.

We used a Kodak PlaySport (Zx3)
for the video.  The Playsport is deceptively small and I “discovered” it when a client brought one to an underwater session.   She sent me a few videos from our time in the pool and I was amazed that such sharp full hd videos had come out of a camera that was smaller than my cell phone.

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