Taking a shoot underwater is not a trivial task. It is just as hard as any shoot but there is more pressure, it is harder to orchestrate, and it is harder to operate. If you thought that shooting in a confined isolated pool is hard, imagine what it is to shoot in the open ocean.
Photographer Benjamin Von Wong experimented just this in a recent shoot in a ship wreck in Bali. Ben shares some of the challenged that he faces when shooting underwater: “when you’re shooting 25 meters underwater and your model tied to a 50 year old shipwreck in the middle of Bali where the slightest miscalculation could spell disaster“:
- Normal models wouldn’t work unless they had extensive dive training and even then, they wouldn’t have the ability to hold their breaths for very long, especially at depth so Free Divers were going to be required.
- Normal clothes couldn’t be rented since the sea water would wreck them, so we had to find a designer willing to part with the clothing they’d lend us.
- Normal assistants wouldn’t work, specially trained safety divers were going to be necessary to ensure a smooth photoshoot.
- Scouting would be complicated – local divers would be necessary for us to navigate around the wreck and deal with unpredictable changes in the weather and tide.
- Lighting and gear would be limited – shooting underwater meant that we had to work with what we had available: on camera strobes or natural light
In a two part blog mini-series Ben breaks down the shoot into it core elements. While this part in more of an introduction to the shoot, I think it holds advice bigger than the technical stuff that will come out on the second blog: Make Beep That You Love! Work With People Who Love The Beep That You Do! Make Good Beep.
You can see the results below:
You can read more on the shoot on Ben’s blog.