Interviews with my underwater models about their experiences modelling underwater.Read More
Blog post about photographing a ballerina underwater by Rekha GartonRead More
Underwater conceptual photoshop edits
I've wanted to create these for a LONG time. I've had the images in the head, sitting there, tempting me all this time and Catherine provided me with the perfect poses for me to start trying.
The foggy forest shots I've had on my hard drive for about 6 months or so, waiting. As I write this it is actually extremely foggy and I wish I could go out to take some more but the cat is out and we don't have a catflap... sidetracked story.
Anyway I hope you enjoy them as much as I am happy with them!
Underwater Fine Art Photography
So I wrote a blog post the other day about a new year filled with underwater photography and I mentioned I had another underwater photoshoot that day, so I wanted to share them with you.
Basically Catherine and I have been friends for many years and kept meaning to do an underwater photoshoot last year but it never happened so when she excitedly messaged me about doing one we got straight on it, to fulfill her mermaid dreams.
She was utterly amazing. Natural in the water, the day was full of giggles and love. Cannot describe what a beautiful day it was (I mean the weather was overcast but she made it beautiful). She also came up with her own suggestions of posing which worked a treat and she wasn't afraid to try anything. Exactly what I need from a model!
I had asked Cat if she would prefer to potentially be on a book cover or would she prefer to do something a touch more creative. All our previous shoots have been really creative but have resulted in zero book covers, because the extra creative images don't sell as quickly. So she asked if we could do ones that were more likely to end up on covers.
If you're interested in having your own underwater photoshoot, please get in touch!
New Year of Underwater Photoshoots
So I started the new year hoping I would get to do more underwater photoshoots, so I got in contact with my friends list and now have the next 5 weeks booked with one a week. I've done one already and another this morning (The morning of writing this).
If you're interested in taking part in an underwater photoshoot, please don't hesitate to contact me.
I'm also interested in collaborating with designers too. I'm particularly looking forward to working with a designer I've dreamt about working with for a long time, but for now that's under wraps until it's happened.
Also if you're looking to model underwater, I'm happy to do potential trades of underwater work for letting me use the images for potential book covers, so neither of us pay one another but we both get something from it :) Again if you're interested, get in touch!
Okay so I had an idea rolling around for a LONG time, of a dark mermaid, mermaids have been so on trend this previous year, becoming increasingly popular but it's always so pretty in pink style (from what I've been exposed too) and I thought of when I studied mythology and such, the sirens who coaxed men to their deaths. Not so pretty after all. Generally mermaid folklore is very dark, twisted and full of death.
I started thinking about ideas of dark mermaids and slowly my ideas started forming. I have a mask by the beautifully talented Hysteria Machine it's called a blind mask. You can actually see through it perfectly well. I also had picked up a lovely cheap body suit from H&M sales for this shoot last summer. I had a dagger and the body chain already too.
My talented make up artist Sherrie Sparkes was eager to try out some underwater make up she had acquired and thankfully we have exactly the same mind set when it comes to creating dark images so I trusted her completely after explaining my idea.
Hollie was the perfect model for this too, confident underwater and of course utterly beautiful in a most bewitching way.
I'm so pleased with the outcome, more to edit of course. More than anything I'm super pleased this was my first underwater photoshoot of the year.
Why Underwater Photography
Why did I re-brand as primarily an underwater photographer? I've been struggling with all social media/marketing aspects of photography, it wasn't anywhere near as popular when I started.
Watching a video about 'building your brand' she spoke about:
- Your niche of photography
- Style of photography
- Your passion
- Your personality style
I quickly and in a bit of a bored manner wrote down:
- Fine Art (I still feel this is an inadequate word for my work style)
- Creating stories through photography
I then laughed, chuckled to myself at the irony. Being underwater, you are alone, in the quiet of the water, your body defies gravity creating surreal/ethereal movement and shapes. The imagination goes off on a tangent.
WHICH FITS EVERY CATEGORY I WROTE DOWN
It suddenly felt like I'd made the right decision to change my website up a bit. I'm still doing the fine art and book cover photography, this won't change as I love books, I love reading and I love creating images that tell a story or suggest a story. But I want my website to communicate that I want to focus on underwater photography in my personal work.
Underwater Photography Plotagraphs
Plotagraph is a really cool app which helps you quickly create some moving aspects to still images - I love it.
I've gone back over some of my favourite water based images and created some Plotagraphs, it took a couple of hours to get used too but I love the ethereal outcomes, which lends itself to underwater fine art photographs. Here are a few I thought I'd share with you.
These are my first attempts but I'm quite happy with, I can't wait to play with the app more and share more with you. I'm hoping to get more underwater work done next year and will continue to use plotagraph to animate it in a more ethereal look, but also it's inspired me to try video again. I've done a few underwater fine art videos from my EARLY EARLY days! Feel free to follow my youtube if you fancy seeing my older videos!
Underwater modelling tips
So I have a lot of models hesitate before modelling underwater, it's usually because it's completely foreign territory. Here are some tips for your first underwater photoshoot.
- You do not need to know how to swim, not with me anyway. I stay in the shallow end and there isn't actually much swimming involved.
- Opening your eyes is dependant on chlorine level or salt level. If you're in a low chlorine pool (usually cleaned with U.V light instead) Opening your eyes is much easier and the same with the sea. I'd keep your eyes shut until you're comfortable. Eyes closed underwater is much more ethereal anyway!
- Keep your toes pointed and your hands poised. Imagine a ballerina's hands, keep them loose and delicate.
- Don't point your legs towards the camera, always go down sideways on to the camera, straight down or balled up. Pointing your legs towards the camera ends up with pretty awful photos.
- Don't put deodorant on, body oil, moisturiser or anything in fact before you go in the water, especially a pool. It clouds the water up really quickly and the photographer will end up with murky photos, I've included a comparison below.
- Most importantly - let all your air out before you go underwater. It is the exact opposite of what you'd naturally do (taking a massive deep breath and then going under) If you slowly breath out as you're going under you'll find you sink pretty fast, can move a lot easier and you won't have puffed out cheeks and a squish face. It takes a lot of practise and the first few times you will quickly take a breath before you go under because it's instinct. But don't panic, you can actually stay underwater a lot longer than if you'd taken a massive breath.
The clarity between these is remarkable. When I went with Hollie there was a family in before us who had clearly been wearing a lot of body products which had clouded the water immensely, killing the clairty.
Rob's underwater photoshoot however was clear as day. The day light helped with this but because we were the first ones there and neither of us wore anything the water stayed crystal clear.
Do you have any questions about modelling underwater? Any fears? Let me know in the comments below!
Published Underwater Images
I've gathered a few publications of my images that have been featured on book covers worldwide.
I love seeing how underwater images can work on a book cover, when you have to find space for text, how editors might edit your images, how it ranges across countries too.
Personally my favourites are probably the series by Melinda Salisbury - The Sin Eaters Daughter. The editing is amazing and the series look's so consistent and exciting. I can also tell you they are good books, worth the read for sure!
A Sky With No Stars also makes me smile, the author actually contacted me directly about this image, I directed her towards the image with Arcangel, but she was so complimentary and I was so excited to see her end result, which is beautiful and magical.