We are super thrilled to be featuring a relative newcomer to underwater photography, and amazing all around person Mary Okner from Mary Bea Photography
1. When did you start your photography journey?
I actually fell in love with photography while I was in high school. I took black & white dark room photography every year and beyond the magic of watching the images develop in the baths I loved interacting with my subjects. I was always photographing my little cousins or the children of teachers at my boarding school.
I continued my study of photography by way of graphic Design with a focus on digital imaging in college. My first job out of college was in the field of photography as a photo assistant for an architectural/construction photography firm. After moving with my now husband across the country to California, I worked for a start up before before taking the leap to follow my passion and open my own portrait photography business in 2013
2. How many years have you been in business?
I have been running a lifestyle family photography business for four years now.
3. What gear do you use for your underwater sessions?
I shoot underwater with an Ikelite housing for my 5d mark iii. The lens extension and port I use with that allows me the flexibility to shoot with my 50 mm, 40 mm & 19-35 mm lenses.
4. What inspired you to try underwater photography? Where do you continue to draw your inspiration?
I honestly can’t remember a time when I wasn’t inspired to shoot underwater. From disposable cameras growing up that had the plastic housing you could bring in the water to a housing I had for my Canon G10 in the early 2000’s, shooting in and around water has always fascinated me. I continue to draw inspiration from fellow photographers, like those sharing their work on Underwater Kids. Their work drives me to challenge myself to become more proficient shooting underwater.
5. Your images have such a beautiful use of light in them. What is your favourite time of the day to photograph?
I love photographing underwater in the early to late afternoon.
6. Any advice you’d like to share for someone just getting into underwater photography?
For those just getting into underwater photography I would say: do your research and then do some more!
I thought I had really done my due diligence before I committed to the big purchase of the Ikelite housing but it turned out that there were two different types of housings so the first port I purchased didn’t actually work with the housing I purchased and it was a frustrating & long process getting that all figured out when all I wanted to do was jump in the water!
Thanks so much Mary!!! Check out some of her fabulous art below!