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Giveaway time - win an AxisGO housing!

We are so excited to team up with the awesome people at AquaTech Imaging Solutions to give away one of their new AxisGO underwater housings for the iPhone!

Head on over to Instagram to find our giveaway post to enter. And don't forget to tag some friends to double your chances of winning.

Good luck!

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The beauty of black and white in a colour world....

As much as the water naturally screams colour to most people, there are times when I think an image is much improved by using a strong black and white.  It focuses the viewer on only the shapes and light playing underwater and takes away a lot of the distraction that can happen, especially in pools in the summer.

Here is a recent favourite of mine.  It was a very deep pool, but I shot it with my 17-40 mm lens at 17mm on purpose.  It was a crowded public pool, and I knew I wanted to maintain a sense of negative space around my subject, so I purposely chose a wider setting (typically I love my 35 mm).  I saw the light hit my subject a certain way, and I knew that was the moment I had been waiting for.  For processing I removed some pool debris, and the lines at the edge of the pool as I wanted a very clean look.  I think the sense of space all around him and the way the light hits him really adds to the story.  The back and white conversion, emphasizes the light and shadows, and for this edit, I used mainly LR, increasing the blacks, contrast and clarity, and adding a few radial filters to direct the eye.  

What do you think?  Is colour or black and white your go to underwater?  I will be releasing a video soon about how to edit using mainly LR in black and white - would love to hear what you'd like to learn!

 

Cheers,

Jennifer

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meet guest moderator: Allison Gipson

We are so excited to introduce Allison from Oahu, Hawaii to you this week! Learn a bit about her below and make sure to tune in to Instagram and say hello as she is our guest moderator over the next few days!

When did you start on your photography journey?

I actually started photographing right out of college when I landed a job at a newspaper as a photojournalist. But my love for photography and the art of it didn’t develop until much later on in my career and when my time was done at the paper.

How many years have you been in business?

My business was created in 2013 and I have had the privilege to work with some pretty amazing families.

What gear do you use for your underwater photos?

I house my Nikon D810 with an Aquatech. I currently have a flat port for my 20mm 1.8 or my 35mm. I would love to eventually get a dome port.


What inspired you to try underwater photography?  Where do you continue to draw your inspiration?

I grew up around the water. Living in Hawaii as a child and then swimming competitively all the way through college - I was in or around the water constantly. Now that we live in Hawaii - I always felt limited at the beach. We still spend so much time in and around the water and I wanted to take it to the next level. I honestly went into underwater photography with zero knowledge and wanting to learn everything about it. It seriously has motivated me in ways I could never really express. Also - I am really trying to make sure my voice is clear while shooting in and out of the water. I want that to be evident in all of my work and that has served as true inspiration - especially when learning something new.  

Your images have such a beautiful use of light in them. What is your favourite time of the day to photograph?

At the beach - I love to go early in the morning. Not only is it a great way to beat the crowds, but the water is still clear. Other than that - I love mid-afternoon and late afternoon shoot in the water. Especially at our pool.

Any advice you’d like to share for someone just getting into underwater photography?

Rent the gear first. Not only is it a huge investment - you need to feel 100 percent confident in it. I rented one system for a weekend — and knew I was falling in love with underwater photography - but not the housing. Was it a bad housing? NO. No such thing - but for my personal needs, the type of shooting I would be doing and what I really, really wanted in my gear (BBF, dials, a good seal) I made sure to find exactly what I wanted. DO your research and ask questions! There are so many people who love underwater photography who want to help and talk about it! ASK. Don’t risk your gear if you are unsure.

Thank you so much for sharing about your photography journey with us Allison!

All photos copyright Allison Gipson.

The opinions and advice expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Underwater Kids

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Meet guest moderator: Kelley Earhart

We're excited to have Kelley join us as guest moderator this weekend! Read on to get to know her and see some of her beautiful underwater photos!

When did you start on your photography journey?  

I started my photography journey almost 7 years ago when my oldest daughter was born. I got my first "big girl camera" and I began taking photos of my daughter when she was a baby. I fell in love with photography and loved the idea of capturing my daughter in normal day to day activities. Fast forward almost 7 years, 3 babies and probably a million photos later. Not a day goes by that I don't pick up the camera.  Since I can't freeze time, I love to document my children in their day to day activities. A way for me to always remember them at their current age.  

How many years have you been in business?  

I have been in business for a little over one year. I have been photographing my children for years, however took a leap of faith and started my own photography/graphic design business a year ago. It has been so much fun getting to meet and photograph so many wonderful families!

What gear do you use for your underwater photography?

Don't laugh... I use a GoPro Hero 3. I got it 3 years ago for the sole purpose of taking photos of my kiddos underwater. I had done some research and just wasn't so sure about "housing" or what the heck it even was at the time. The thought of bringing my big camera underwater totally scared me. The thought of using a case for my cell phone also totally scared me!  Sooooo.... after doing some research, I decided the GoPro was going to be my best option. I had watched countless videos on YouTube of people deep sea diving and photographing all kinds of extravagant fish in the deep blue sea.  The quality and colors were amazing. I thought if they could capture those images with the GoPro then I could certainly use it to photograph "my fish" in the deep blue sea. A.k.a... my kiddos in a not so deep swimming pool.

I was so excited to give it a try. At the time, I had a 2 year old and a 4 year old. My oldest was comfortable in the water and could swim on her own but my two year old needed assistance. I was still able to capture photos of her underwater. It just took more attempts.  If they can swim, obviously it gives you more time to shoot away and cross your fingers for a few good shots. Since there was not a screen on the back, I had no clue if I was actually getting the shots I had envisioned. I literally took photos until my battery almost died or until my kiddos were tired of swimming. I couldn't wait to get home each time to download and see all of the photos ( if any ) I had captured.

Three years later, I am still using that same GoPro.  I was wanting to upgrade to a newer model with a screen on the back.  After researching, I discovered that I didn't need to.  They now make a back pack option that will attach to older models.  It is the LCD screen that I had been wanting!  I purchased and was able to give it a try a few weeks ago on vacation!  I love it!  It is still challenging to really see clear underwater on the screen, but it does give me a better idea if I am actually aiming in the right direction! If you do not have one yet, hurry and go get one! I promise, you will love!

What inspired you to try underwater photography?  

As a former collegiate swimmer, I've spent a lot of time underwater.  A lot of time swimming laps.  A lot of time staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool. A lot of time thinking and daydreaming. There is something about the water that puts me at ease.  Almost like my comfort zone.  As a graphic designer/photographer the creative side of me loves the ability to capture light, color, shapes and patterns in the water.

Ok that was the artsy fartsy answer....  the real inspiration came from my kiddos. The second they get in the water they begin to shout "hey mom, watch this". This phrase is repeated over and over again. I always reply back and tell them how cool or awesome it was!!?!  Often times getting a response "you didn't see it"  or "you missed it".  What?!  I was totally watching the whole time... above water.  Apparently, that's why I was missing all of the good stuff.  I couldn't see it. Underwater photography inspired me to take a "deeper" look at whatever super duper awesome tricks my kiddos were actually performing underwater. I love to be able to capture these silly moments in the water in hopes that one day they will become cherished memories.

Where do you continue to draw your inspiration?

I feel like my inspiration often times comes from my kiddos. Without them, I'm not sure I would have been inspired to pick up a camera and take photographs as much as I have. They inspire me to see things in a different light. See things through their eyes. I love capturing the joy of my kiddos in the water.

Your images have such a beautiful use of light in them. What is your favourite time of the day to photograph?  

My favorite time of day to shoot is right smack in the middle of the day. Bright sun. Blue skies. I love to shoot middle of the day because the light is amazing. I love the reflections and colors of the water. This usually works out nice because we spend our summers at the pool. Perfect time to play and swim with the kiddos and also capture candid moments of them in the pool.

Any advice you’d like to share for someone just getting into underwater photography?

My advice would be to play around and have fun. You don't need the most expensive gear/housing to capture great images. I have an old school GoPro and in my opinion, it works awesome for someone wanting to give underwater photography a try. I don't have any fancy gear or gadgets to go along with it. I just hold it in my hand to shoot. I know that sounds silly, but there are some other sticks or wands that you can swim with that attach to the camera. I have yet to try any of those out.  You can capture a variety of styles with just the camera.  A favorite of mine are the over/under. I love the idea of capturing their tricks underwater that often times remain unseen from above. I have discovered that you do not need a dome for this style. I have never tried using one, but I do know that you can accomplish this same look without one.  After trial and error, I have found that some of my favorite over/under images were taken in a well lit pool without a lot of movement. All of my images have been captured in a public pool with lots of other swimmers in the water at the same time. I try to find a spot in the pool that is less crowded. A spot where the water is calm and still. I usually stay back a bit and photograph them from a distance. This allows the water to settle and also allows your subject to feel at ease and comfortable floating or swimming. Over/unders can be done up close as long as the water is calm. I love to try new things, different angles, different depths of water etc.  The best part of underwater photography is that you get to be a kid again and have fun in the pool.

I have only used my GoPro on my children and have yet to use on actual clients.  For me, since the GoPro is all that I know, I would probably go ahead and use that camera for underwater sessions.  That tiny little camera produces some fantastic images that are clear and crisp.  If you are wanting to branch out into this style of photography, I would highly recommend getting a a pair of goggles and a GoPro.  They are small, portable and super easy to use!!!  The quality SOOC is amazing.  I do edit/crop images in Photoshop.  Mostly adjust the white balance and add a tad bit of red or magenta to the images. This is all personal preference. Since I am shooting for fun and the subjects are my own children, I don't pay too much attention to my editing style.  It is fun to try different things. The possibilities are endless!mv

Thank you so much for sharing about your photography journey with us Kelley!

All photos copyright Kelley Earhart.

The opinions and advice expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Underwater Kids

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meet guest moderator: Christi Allen Curtis

Next week, Christi will join Underwater Kids as a guest moderator for a few days, so we'd like to introduce her to you today with this fun interview!

All photos copyright Christi Allen Curtis

When did you start your photography journey?

I feel like, in a sense, I was always on a photography journey… I was born in Europe and we traveled a lot, my dad always had his old Yashica 35 mm camera and was constantly taking pictures of us. I have always loved photography, I went through an Ansel Adams phase in which I fell in love with B&W photography and growing up, I often had a camera with me to document my life with my friends and family. I bought my first SLR film camera in 1998 and graduated USF in 2001 with a Bachelor in Fine Art, focus in photography.  This started my professional photography journey. I love that my background was in film and darkroom work and later transitioned to digital, I feel as though I have traveled the gamut of photography, but there is so much to learn, and I am still on my journey!

How many years have you been in Business?

I have been in business for over 10 years.

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What gear do you use for your underwater sessions?

I LOVE my Ikelite housing with dome port… I use my Nikon D700 with Nikon 20mm 2.8 lens in the housing.  When and if I need fill light I use the Ikelite Vega Video light.

I also use a weight belt, a good dive mask, and always have my anti-fog solution on hand.

What inspired you to try underwater photography? Where do you continue to draw your inspiration?

I was inspired to try underwater photography when I had my daughter (now 11 years old) in infant survival swim lessons when she was young… I became friends with her instructor and she asked if I had ever thought about shooting underwater, well I hadn’t until that point and thought I needed to give it a try. By this time my daughter was swimming great so I used her as my model… the first time I went under and captured her swimming, the joy, the water, the blue, the reflection, the bubbles… I was HOOKED, in LOVE with the many aspects and even the challenges of underwater photography and became OBSESSED with learning more! I began to photograph at Kinder Swim Inc. (Where my daughter learned her survival and swim skills) and now 7 years later I still do underwater photography there, generally 4-6 times a year we have a day where people sign up for photos.  In the last 2 years I added another swim school where I photograph a few times a year, so between the two schools, they keep me busy and the children keep me inspired with their joy and energy!

I also love to photograph my own children in our pool and offer private underwater pool sessions as well as springs sessions, FL has many beautiful & natural springs and they offer amazing backgrounds.

Your images have such a beautiful use of light in them, what is your favorite time of day to photograph?

This is a tough one to answer as it totally depends on many things, such as the pool itself, the direction the pool faces affects the direction of light into the pool… Some pools I prefer morning for photographing and some pools I prefer later in the day before sunset.

-The springs I have photographed early morning and later afternoon.

I ALWAYS love to try and get sun flare when I can, I feel like it adds so much drama to the shot, but it can be really tricky! It’s always good to challenge yourself when shooting.

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Any advice you’d like to share for someone just getting into underwater photography?

If I offered advice to someone new to underwater photography, I would say, use good gear to protect your camera.  Always check your gear before going under, for example I lube my O-rings and test my Ikelite housing before every single shoot. 

I would also say shoot a lot, try every lighting situation, and angle to see what works best. Challenge yourself & be creative.

Get a weight belt, a good mask and anti-fog solution for your mask.*

Thank you so much for sharing about your photography journey with us Christi!

All photos copyright Christi Allen Curtis.

The opinions and advice expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Underwater Kids

tips and ideas for shooting underwater split images

If you've been following along on instagram, we've been sharing lots of fun split (or over/under) images! It's probably the underwater photography subject we get most questions about so sharing some tips and ideas!

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Gear matters in this case - well a certain piece of gear. It's not impossible to get a split image with a flat port, but ideally you want a dome port - it helps with underwater distortion, keeps the water at a bit of a distance from your lens, and makes it easier to place the waterline where you want it. Domes are sold not just for the big professional housings, but for GoPros and phone cases as well.

Settings matter too - mainly your aperture. If you want both portions of the image in focus, you need to really close down your aperture, meaning a higher F-stop number. A minimum of F16 or even F22 are your friends here! If you don't care for both portions to be in complete focus, but would like the out of focus half to still be recognizable, you can open up a bit - F4 through F8 have served me well.

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Now on to some ideas, because there are so many creative things you can do with overs/unders!

Obviously, the image doesn't have to be split down the middle and be half/half. It could be mostly underwater with a small portion of sky, palm trees or buildings - a hint of the surrounding environment to give the image a sense of place.

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Or mostly above the water with a sliver of what's below and the viewer will feel like they're part of the scene.

It doesn't even have to be a straight line either - try catching (or making) a wave for your waterline!

Think about the story you are trying to tell with your image, and make choices to enhance it. Some stories are best told with everything in sharp focus. With others it helps to have a main sharp focus with out of focus supporting elements, lending depth to the image. You can also use split images to tell the whole story to the image, revealing a half otherwise obscured by the water. Or, tell two entirely separate stories in a single frame.

All images copyright Barb Toyama | Maui, Hawai'i

All images copyright Barb Toyama | Maui, Hawai'i

Possibilities are nearly endless so as always, experiment and have fun with it! Which are your favorite kind of over/under images? Share with us in the comments! And don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

See you in the water!

- Barb

 

 

A little before and after - underwater workshops

Waiting.
This is from an underwater maternity session I did as part of our "Pool Party" sessions last summer. What drew me in was the rays of the sun streaming down through the water and the moment. That mere hesitation before you push away from the side, a safe harbour, to explore the water. To me, it was much like the waiting for a new little one, and the waiting before you launch into something new. Both literal and metaphorical.

Part of underwater photography for me is learning to see the possibilities that exist in each picture and find my own way of seeing. Having a strong vision and learning how to execute it allows you to stay ahead and relevant. Copying what you have seen others do, is, well just that. Copying.  And you trail when you copy.

If you are interested in differentiating yourself in a competitive market, finding your own way of seeing, learning the skill, art and business of underwater photography join award winning photographer Barb Toyama and myself this summer. You'll hone your technical skills, including post processing, learn how to work with clients and set your vision free. To help support your learning, we are also including after the workshop support and business coaching for a total experience.  

Registration details can be found here.

Find your own voice always. Let us help you get there.

A little before and after so you see what I mean.

Before....

After....

See you in the water,

Jennifer and Barb

meet IG guest moderator: Mali Workman

Mali will take over as guest moderator on Instagram this week, so we'd like to introduce her to you with this fun little interview!

When did you start on your photography journey? 

My first camera was a Christmas present when I was 7 years old. I’ve been in this journey for a very long time :)

How many years have you been in business?

My hobby turned into a business 12 years ago. 

What gear do you use for your underwater sessions? 

I shoot underwater with whatever gear is available to me at the time. A lot of times it’s just my Iphone in an Optrix case.  Other times I use my Sony A600, also in an underwater case.  I don’t have any underwater gear for my professional cameras because they feel too bulky to me.  I like to travel light and keep things as simple as possible.

What inspired you to try underwater photography?  Where do you continue to draw your inspiration?

Shooting around water and underwater came naturally to me, because that’s where I often find myself. My family enjoy swimming, water polo, surfing, snorkeling, SUP, Kayaking, etc. Most of what we do for fun involves water. Inspiration comes from watching how my kids’ relationship with water develops through the years. Water activities define so much of who they are. It’s also always a joy when clients share that love for water and want to incorporate it into their sessions.

Your images have such a beautiful use of light in them. What is your favorite time of the day to photograph? 

That’s a tricky question, because it depends on how clear the water is, and if I’m shooting above or underwater. Above water, sunset is the best time anywhere. Underwater in California oceans, I like the middle of a sunny day, when it’s very bright. In the Caribbean, where the ocean is clear and visibility is amazing,  I love a cloudy or rainy day.  There’s all kinds or weather and water clarity in between and I often find myself trying something new.   

Any advice you’d like to share for someone just getting into underwater photography? 

It’s a whole new learning curve that still throws me off sometimes. My advice is to embrace the challenges and mistakes along the way and have fun with it!

Thank you so much for sharing about your photography journey with us Mali!

All photos copyright Mali Workman.

The opinions and advice expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Underwater Kids

creating emotive underwater images

What draws you into an image and makes you linger? What sets art apart from the snapshot?

For me (and I'd guess most people), it's the connection a photo conveys, the emotions we feel, and the story it tells us. It appeals to our senses and draws us in. How do you go about creating images like that?

I believe the sheer fact of photographing in the water comes with a certain intimacy and vulnerability, which works to our advantage. Here are some ideas I use to instill more emotion and connection into my water sessions:

1 - Making my subjects feel comfortable. This applies especially in the water, as people may feel more "exposed" because, well, they are! When they feel comfortable and trust me, they open up, relax, and let me see more of their "self".

2 - Physical connection. It's a very human thing to connect by touch, so I consistently look for that physical contact. It doesn't always have to be loving hugs, sometimes it's playful or subtle. I prefer to let it happen naturally, as that is more my style, but it could certainly be more encouraged or directed.

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3 - Eye contact. There's so much truth in the eyes, expressing the emotions a person is feeling, especially with children.

4 - Emotional connection. We not only connect physically but also emotionally, by sharing a laugh, a smile, or exchanging a knowing look. I love capturing this connection between family members.

5 - Light. I love using light to enhance and underline an emotion, whether it's bright back light or the soft glow of the setting sun.

6 - Details. Not all emotion is expressed by the eyes and face, other features reveal emotions too. Underwater photography offers such great opportunities for faceless photos! It's also fun to catch little details like hands, feet, or water droplets running down a bare back.

7 - Color vs. black & white. With some images, I "see" it either in color or in black & white when I shoot. With others, I think about the story I'd like the image to tell and choose accordingly. Personally, I love both. Black and white really enhances the more emotive images so I often choose it for connection images, while color goes with the mood of happy, fun images.

What are your favorite emotions to capture in the water?

- Barb

photography tips - shooting in the ocean (part 1)

With spring break coming up, some of you might be heading somewhere warm to enjoy the beach and ocean, and excited to photograph underwater. So I thought I'd share a few quick tips with you - let's dive right in!

 

Safety First

I cannot stress this enough. Know your (and your family's) swimming abilities. The power of the ocean is no joke, observe conditions and heed warning signs about rip currents, large surf, and other dangers. Rogue waves do happen. Don't turn your back to the ocean, and stay close to shore. Here in Hawaii we have the saying, "if in doubt, don't go out".

This image of my daughter is actually only a few feet form the shoreline, in waist deep water (my husband is holding her and hiding behind the wave). You don't necessarily have to go far out to get fun shots!

This image of my daughter is actually only a few feet form the shoreline, in waist deep water (my husband is holding her and hiding behind the wave). You don't necessarily have to go far out to get fun shots!

 

Try an over/under

Over/under, or split images, make for great story telling and are really fun! Think about the story you're telling, where you want the focus, and adjust your focal point and aperture accordingly.

Showing a hint of loving arms wrapped around a child adds connection and emotion to an image.

Showing a hint of loving arms wrapped around a child adds connection and emotion to an image.

 

Let go of control

So much is out of your control when shooting in the water, period. Especially in the ocean. The light, water clarity, stirred up sand, wind, waves, you name it. I try to not get stuck on preconceived ideas - keeping an open mind about what's possible allows me to be creative, instead of feeling limited by conditions I can't change.

Water clarity was pretty murky here - so I got really close to minimize the amount of water between my little client and the lens.

Water clarity was pretty murky here - so I got really close to minimize the amount of water between my little client and the lens.

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Even worse water clarity with this session, so our plans to snorkel with turtles turned into boogie boarding and chicken fights - don't limit yourself to shooting only below the surface.

Even worse water clarity with this session, so our plans to snorkel with turtles turned into boogie boarding and chicken fights - don't limit yourself to shooting only below the surface.

 

Clean your gear

Always rinse your gear with plenty of fresh water after shooting in the ocean, whether you have a waterproof camera, big housing or an iphone case. Salt is corrosive and will eat its way through your gear, and sand grains lodged in o-rings can break the seal.

 

Get in the frame

Whether it's a special occasion or your everyday, don't forget to be present in your water photos! Hand the camera off to a family member, or take an underwater selfie. You will enjoy the memories and your kids will appreciate seeing you were there too.

This is a selfie I took at 6 months pregnant. I am so greatful to have this memory swimming in the ocean while pregnant.

This is a selfie I took at 6 months pregnant. I am so greatful to have this memory swimming in the ocean while pregnant.

 

And most importantly, have fun and don't forget to share your ocean photos with us!

- Barb

Featured images from Instagram - February

We love our underwater community on instagram and all the gorgeous, creative work you share with us there. Here's just a sampling of the features from the past few weeks.

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Put a little chaos in your soul....underwater maternity sessions

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star

         Friedrich Nietzsche

As an artist, everything I do is centred around the belief of challenging the status quo and rethinking what is possible. Underwater maternity sessions are like a mystical dance where light plays with movement, bubbles and the unexpected. It's a place where the chaos of creation meets universal magic and anything is possible.  

For me, thats where offering underwater maternity sessions comes in.  It allows me to push the limits of a traditional maternity session and differentiate my business., while creating unique prices of art for my clients that they cannot get from many other photographers.  

There are a few tips to working with maternity clients under water which have served me well.

1. Prepare your clients well for the session. If you haven't already signed up for our newsletter, there is a free tip sheet that we send you when  you do! 

2. Take breaks often.  Its more tiring thank you think and its important that your client is safe at all times.

3. Bring in fun dresses, materials and clothes, BUT make sure you test them first. Sometimes the lightest looking materials are really heavy and hard to use.

4. Embrace "failure". Learning underwater photography has been very liberating as I have found so much beauty in what I would have previously found to be a "failure".  Thats where the magic happens!

5. Elevate your game. When you first start out, you may be happy with the fact ANYTHING turned out. Challenge yourself and push yourself more. I see lots of photographers who plateau here and never grow beyond "getting the shot". Check out our workshops for opportunities to learn more! 

6. Have fun and embrace the chaos....its all a part of the journey.  

Jennifer 

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Jan 30th-Feb 5th: Featured Images from Instagram

Another great week over on our #underwaterkids Instagram feed!  Just look at these gorgeous underwater photography photos featured!

 

Behind the Scenes Video of an Underwater Kid's Photo Session

Hello everyone! 

I know Jennifer and Barb will agree, we get asked to see a behind the scenes ALOT these days!  So since I'm here in Texas, where the temps are in the mid to high 70's in almost February, I decided to put together a little glimpse into a typical underwater child photography session with me.  Everyone is different, but professional underwater sessions with me include about an hour in the pool, allowing for a few much needed breaks for both myself and my subjects.  I will typically get at least 20 or so final images per shoot. However, if my subject is really comfortable and direct able in the pool and/or there are two or three subjects during a shoot, I can easily achieve double that amount of final edited images.  You might be thinking, wow, 50 keeper shots.  Keep in mind a full gallery for me includes a wide variety of different shots.  Some are more traditional and some are more 'outtakes', but outtakes that are still overall, great shots.  In addtion, lately I will also include a couple of more what some would call 'artsy' shots, focused on just the bubbles or a few where the subject is more of an accent and not the focus. For me, the preparation I go through for these sessions and the work during and the post processing, it is not currently worth it for me to offer smaller sessions.  You must decide what works for you.  What works for me is offering my clients full galleries of a wide array of different shots.  To achieve this, I need the extra time in the pool.  

A big thanks to friend, Susan with http://www.susansorianophotography.com who shot the video using my goPro. She was a trooper considering she'd never shot a video underwater before.

I did the editing myself.  As a newbie in this area, I'm still learning lots about this whole new world of video editing, but having some fun along the way!

Hope you enjoy the video!  Stay tuned. I'll be sharing some of the final images from this session in the near future!  You will for sure want to see!   :-)

Thanks y'all!

-Amy

Jan 23d-29th: Featured Images from Instagram

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our LIVE feed on Facebook last week!  In case you missed them, head over to our Facebook page HERE to see!

Here is is our review of the images featured on our Instagram last week!  Be sure to keep sharing your underwater kids images over on Instagram with the hashtag #underwaterkids to be featured!

Like a Bobble in the Water: Unpredicability Photographing Kids Underwater

Imagine yourself for a moment, standing on one of those balance boards, you know the ones you use during a workout class like shown here.  Of course you also have your camera in hand.  Then add a pair of even the best googles over your face and let's throw in some mid level wind blowing around you.  Now, how about you squat and move around a bit to frame your subject.  Oh yes, you must also hold your breath. Yes, that's right, do not breath. I forgot to mention the subject you are photographing a subject who is moving and who has likely proceeded to do a complete 180 to what you have asked them to do, not really intentionally, but because the environment they are in is complex to fully execute what you have pictured in your head. 

Now take a 'perfect' photo.  he-he.

Well, my friends, this is just a little glimpse into photographing kids underwater.  Even if you are both standing and touching the bottom of the water....it is nearly impossible to be still.  You are moving, your subject is moving and it's likely the water is moving at least somewhat.  Shooting under such conditions creates a whole new world of challenges.  Not that you can't overcome these obstacles, but you will be at almost a constant battle with them.  Knowing how to best navigate through these comes only by much practice and perseverance. 

From what I've learned the last couple of years shooting children underwater is that there is quite a bit more 'luck' than there is on dry land.  Not being able to really coach your subject while underwater and the inconstancy of how the water reacts during an underwater photo shoot basically just means that you will need to be much more flexible and have to potentially compromise a bit more when it comes to getting what we will call 'keeper' shots.  We will talk about this much more in the future here on our blog.  Today, however, I want to really drive home two points.

1. To get your 'vision' shots, you will more often than not have to 'try' it many times over.

2. Know when to move on.

When shooting kids underwater, if you are seeking to achieve a certain 'pose' or a more specific 'shot', you will most likely need to do the same shot several times if not many, many times over in order to actually get a couple or sometimes just the one shot.  For me, on average, I'd say I'm snapping (at times) as many as 20-30 shots during one underwater 'segment'.  That is going under once and equivalent to one, yes, I said one try.  And yes, you heard me correctly, we sometimes try as many as 8-10 times....which is equal to me going under 8-10 times to get a couple of final images of a certain look I'm wanting to achieve.  This is not the average, more of the 'worst case scenarios' if you want to call it such.  The average is more like 3-5.  You will feel at times like you are chasing a rabbit, but hang in there!  Just be prepared for lots of 'duds' to get one 'keeper'.

There have been times I've had to have my subjects do something literally like 10 times to get the photograph I wanted.  Even then, there are plenty of times, you may just have to accept the fact a particular shot is not going to happen.  Much also relies on how well our subject can or can not execute something.  Too many times to count, I've wanted my subject to do something and after a few tries I could tell we needed to just move on to something different because of the limitations of my client.  It is best to move on than to become frustrated or have your client become exhausted.  It is not worth it. 

I've lost track also of how many times I witnessed my client do the exact thing I asked...then to my grave disappointment, either my shutter didn't catch it or maybe the focus shifted for one shot to a wave or splash.  Boy, those never get any easier to swallow especially when then for reasons I can never quite explain, my subject is not able to accomplish again...even if we try 10 more times.  You must be able to let go and move on.  Rest assured there will be other amazing shots you will get.  Many of which will be completely unexpected.  Just be as ready as you possibly can during a session.  There have been so many photographs I have shot that I captured when my subject was just playing around or we were technically 'taking a break'. 

Until next time,

Amy

underwater kids photography help
photographing kids underwater
underwater workshop

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A little before and after!

A little before/after from my live underwater shoot at the National Association of Professional Child Photographers Retreat in Santa Barbara. The pool was shallow, so the editing is easy and she is close to the surface, so her skin tones are much better. The deeper your subject is, the more the reds are lost and the harder it becomes get the colours back. I edited mostly in Lightroom for this photo. Lots of times I will slightly overexpose underwater to get the skin tones, but I have found when shooting in pools that are lighter, it gets harder to retain the colour and the blues become washed out. I shot with a custom white balance for this session. For this edit, I adjusted the skin tones, and added magenta, pulled the shadows up, adjusted the orange, red, blue and aqua HSL sliders and pulled it into Photoshop. I re-cropped the photo to create more space around her, took out the pool vents and lights, did a quick adjustment to her skin tones with a colour balance, and a few curve adjustments. Back in Lightroom, I added a gradient with a little more colour because I wanted a bit of pink tones in the bottom to match her heart and give a little tonal harmony, and then flipped it upside down because thats how I saw it.


Thats it. It sounds more complicated but its not.

Want to know more?  Join our live chat on Facebook on Friday!

Jennifer

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Jan 16th-22nd: Featured Images from Instagram

We are excited to begin showcasing images featured from our Instagram account each week here on the blog.  Be sure to keep sharing your underwater kids images over on Instagram with the hashtag #underwaterkids to be feautred!

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Unboxing a Lume Cube

I figured when a product like the LED Lume Cube is so incredibly easy to use and understand right out of the box, no words are needed! I will be posting a full review with pictures coming soon. I really was looking for a small, portable light source to add to my underwater and night photography, and these rugged, portable and easy to use Lume Cubes really fit the bill.  I ordered directly from Lume Cube and the shipment arrived within a few days. I have played with one for a bit in the bathtub (see the picture underneath the video), and will be posting a full review for their use in underwater photography when I really get a chance to see what it can do!

 

I used the Lume Cube in the bath with my youngest son to create the shadow on the wall and that light bouncing of him.  The light was at a very low setting and as you can see, there is a ton of power.  I was able to control the light with an app on my iPhone, and adjust it to my liking much like you would a flash or strobe. I cannot wait to see what the capabilities are at night and underwater!

Looking forward to the full review soon!  

Jennifer

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