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!
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.
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.
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