Underwater model photography is also referred to as underwater pool photography or underwater studio photography. Sometimes the shoot is done with natural light. Advanced lighting techniques such as underwater umbrellas and off-camera strobes are also often used.

Shooting babies or people underwater might seem daunting, but actually it is  a lot of fun. The truth is that  all babies have a natural diving reflex. It weakens over time, but can be easily tested. For example if a parent blows air into babies face then the baby holds its breath. Swedish scientists tested 4 to 18 month old babies and the conclusion is that all of them hold their breath underwater. The more they practice going underwater the more they actually like it.

But how does shooting babies underwater look like? Parent should let babies go and not hold them. Not push them neither hold them back. Babies who dive for first time can stay under water 2 seconds, others can stay there 3 to 4 seconds. Some babies like to spin under water, it is natural. It is possible also for the parents to go swimming with baby. Photographer  gives instructions for the parents. A key factor of good images is having a subject that looks natural underwater. Safety has to be the highest priority and you always need another person in the water with you who will be responsible for the child.

Next steps are experiments with different backdrops, props and creative lighting in the pool. It is always interesting to wear floating clothes under water, because they give astonishing effects. Also different accessories give nice feeling. The best props for kids are typically items they use in sports or hobbies, like skateboards, baseball bats, tennis rackets or a favorite toy. The more fun they are having in the water, the longer they will allow you to photograph them and more lively the images will be. An underwater model can actually be anyone that wants to get in front of the camera in the pool. This may be a friend, a relative, an aspiring model or a seasoned professional. The only thing is that they have to be comfortable swimming underwater. Unlike young children, older models are better at posing, but kids are playful and that helps a lot too. Reflections in the pool, close to the surface make some images truly spectacular. An extra value can be added with colorful outfits and interesting accessories.Female models also look more dramatic when they wear waterproof makeup. If the model feels comfortable with nudity, then  nude photography is also an option for artistic images.

Underwater photography of dogs has recently hit the spotlight. Dogs are a lot of fun to photograph but can be a little unpredictable. Some of the best shots of dogs are when they are jumping in the water, sticking their head in the water after a toy, or split shots of them swimming . Like kids and models, you will need to find a dog that is comfortable going underwater or at least swimming in the pool. I find that when shooting dogs, you will do more ‘shooting from the hip’ where you are not looking through the viewfinder, but rather following the dog with your camera extended out.

Here are some interesting names from the history of underwater photography:

Bruce Mozert  is considered  ‘the father of underwater photography’. His best works were born in 30’s to 50’s on Silver Springs beaches. His works were published everywhere beginning from National Geographic and ending with magazine Life.

Toni Frissell (1907 – 1988) Is a women photographer who’ s work was published in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar etc. Her images are full of femininity, movement, mystique..

Paul Schutzer (1930-1967) Photographer who ’s talent was capturing everyday life moments. He also worked for Life magazine. His works are described with words ‘’sincere’’ and ‘’vital’’.

Walter Sanders (1906-1972) German photographer who changed the concept of LIfe magazine. His cover photo was also an underwater shot.

Search underwater photographers