My Inspiration

When I decided to specialise in Underwater Portraits, one of the first things I did was research other underwater photographers and look at their work. Some of the first that I came across are still big inspirations to me today and interestingly most are women. Interesting because photography, especially fashion tends to be dominated by men. A big generalisation yes but I loved the fact that some of the best in the field were women.

These include:
Zena Holloway: Multi-talented, Award winning, British underwater photographer. Zena has mastered babies, fashion, beauty, commercial, ocean, video and worked with many celebrities. A huge inspiration and I was pretty chuffed when she recently liked some of my work on Instagram ; )

Jenna Martin: Super talented and super lovely, as I had the pleasure of taking part in some online workshops with Jenna. She has become a mentor and offered so much helpful advise on the technical and business side of underwater photography. Jenna is based in Montana, US which has some heavy winters so fortunately she is just as accomplished at land photography in the off season as well.

Lucie Drlikova: A very artistic and conceptual underwater photographer, Lucie’s work has a surreal, fairy tale quality to it and she even creates some of the incredible props and backdrops used in the shots, herself. Based in the Czech Republic, Lucie is a big inspiration as I really enjoy the conceptual work myself and using backdrops and props to create a scene and occasionally Photoshop to create an artistic montage. A long way to go to her level but I can dream.

f5e0ea6a8f677406ea5a71044b869e59

Elena Kalis: Based in the Bahamas, my dream destination to shoot and where many of the incredible photographers I follow on Instagram are based. Elena has some stunning ocean portraits, often featuring her model daughter and has also done some very recognisable pool work, such as the Alice in Wonderland series.

alice11

Others are:

Adam Opris: his dramatic work, especially weddings, blows my mind. One of the best!
Ken Kiefer:  Does a lot of cool ocean work with animals and people interacting.
Christi Curtis: Beautiful portraits of mainly kids in pool. Founder of Underwater Kids.
Stephen Binke: A successful Aussie photographer, creating artworks you want to display on the wall.

Underwater Maternity with Dewi

IMG_4553

I think underwater portraits are especially condusive to maternity portraits as you can be weightless and graceful in the water unlike on land, while keeping cool and comfortable. It’s certainly a great way to make your portraits stand out from the rest and even create art pieces that you will display proudly on your wall. I wish i’d discovered underwater portraits when I went through my three pregnancys!

Dewi was a pleasure to work with and as she knew she was having a girl, we played around with pink fabrics. The challenge here was emphasising the bump so she looked pregnant. I usually advise to do the shoot towards the end of the third trimester (which she was) but it was a very neat little bump ; )

 

Swish Swimming Video (March 2018)

How cute are these two? They are swim school besties and have been learning swimming together for almost 3 years. I was super excited for this project as I hadn’t had a chance to explore the video function much on my Canon 5D mark iii, but the quality is amazing!

I have worked for and at Swish Swimming school before, for one of my first underwater photo shoots, doing some of their earlier marketing shots, shooting at a pool party event and using their fab pool for some of my personal work. They have now expanded and have a fabulous new pool venue nearby called Laguna so this became our theme. I also adopted their colour scheme of yellow and turquoise and sourced some props and costumes, including pineapple swim shorts, straw skirt, sunglasses and flowers.

I put together a storyboard which included the kids demonstrating different skills in a fun way, such as diving in, picking up an object from the bottom, blowing bubbles, floating and climbing out of the pool. These two were such superstars and seemed to really enjoy the experience, which makes my job much easier! The main challenge was the clarity of the water which was very cloudy because they had lessons all morning. It is normally very clear so this was a shame and detracted a bit from the final product.

I did my best using the Wondershare Filmora video editing software, which I loved and it was so easy to trim the clips, add transitions, text, special effects and audio. The final Swish Video is a 30 second clip.

 

Komodo (March 2018)

We had some previously unused flights to use up so decided to take a weekend (kid free!) to Komodo in Indonesia. I was so excited to do some diving and ocean photography! A friend had stayed at the Seraya Resort and recommended it so this is where we went. The beach bungalows were simple, lovely and right on a stunning stretch of sand leading onto the house reef. It’s a bit of a mission to get there from Singapore… flying to Jarkarta, then to Labuan Bajo and a speedboat to the island, but it was worth it!

Waking up to a stunning sunrise which called me to take a walk along the jetty, I new it was going to be a magical day. The water was crystal clear and glassy and I saw some baby black tips as well as a few lion fish (noted to look out for these as you do not want to get stung!). We booked a day trip with Aqura Dive, the onsite dive shop and I couldn’t wait as it had been over a year since my last dive.

Of course we had to go to Komodo Island which is one of only a few islands that inhabit the Komodo dragon. I’ve seen Goanna’s and Monitor Lizards but these things are beasts!

Next stop was turtle city. As soon as we anchored, we were greeted by a large loggerhead popping up to check us out. During the dive we lost count after about 20 turtles. I love observing their different characters… some appear friendly and relaxed around the divers and others seem to say, leave me alone and get that camera out of my face (so I did!) Much like humans I guess : )

Now off to the Manta feeding station. I was super excited for this as although i’ve seen a couple of mantas in the distance in the Maldives, I had not been up close with the Oceanic Manats. It’s hard to get an idea of the scale of these majestic creatures but the wing span was over 4 metres. They would swim right over us as and come back around again for their cleaning so it was incredible to sit and watch (and take photos!) Unfortunately the water visibility wasn’t the best so the photos are a bit gritty.

Fortunately my husband enjoys scuba diving too, since I bought him a PADI course for Christmas about 12 years ago! So it’s great having him along as my buddy. However, he also likes to chill out and read a book on holidays (fair enough!) so it’s about finding balance between a bit of adventure and culture and just relaxing. We did a bit of that but I spent most of my time snorkelling on the house reef which was pretty impressive. I also had to drag him away from his book to do some creative shots that I had in mind…

I read my book too! hehe