Exploring beauty and fashion in a nearly gravity free aquatic setting can be a real challenge. Casting model Heidi, who is a natural underwater, was a great fit for this project.
In order to direct the scene, Heidi and I would discuss the shot before becoming submerged. Once underwater, hand gestures were used to direct the performance as other means of communication were limited.
Another physical challenge was trying to pose without floating back to the surface. As the photographer, I wore a weight belt to keep submerged. Heidi’s trick was to let all the air out of her lungs before going underwater. This would make her less buoyant.
Lighting can also be a challenge while shooting underwater. Overhead sunlight will create a lot of harsh contrast. Sometimes this can be a good thing, but in this case I wanted to avoid strong shadows on the model’s face. We chose to have Heidi face towards the surface to help avoid these shadows.
While shooting in such an environment, it is difficult to tell when we have achieved the desired shot. We would surface every few seconds to breath, review our progress and continue to shoot until we were satisfied.