Summertime + happy kids at the pool = a great underwater photography opportunity
Its warm, there’s loads of natural daylight available and if your child is loving playtime at the pool then there’ll never be a better chance to have a go at underwater photography. In this post, my final part of the three part series, I explain some of the techniques you can use to get the most out of your underwater photography when snapping babies and small children.
Detailed above is the kit I use to photograph kids in the pool. As well as a camera and a mask you might also want to see if you can borrow a small weight belt. When you’re underwater you need the air in your lungs to be able to hold your breath but its also the reason why your body will want to bob around on the surface. Its best to try to avoid this situation as it can make you look like a bit of a fool if you’re splashing around but trying to stay down! On a more practical level its also really useful to feel slightly heavy so that you can stabilize yourself underwater. Dive shops hire out weight belts and you only need a few kilos of lead to make a real difference.
Once you’ve got yourself set up in the water and you’re happy with the camera settings a really easy position to try to catch with the kids is a simple ‘comfort dunk’. It means that baby can still be in the parent’s arms for the shot and won’t mind going underwater for a quick warm up dip. The best way to achieve this is to ask the parent to hold baby on the hip and use their spare hand to hold the child’s hand which will make sure they don’t lift it when they go underwater and cover their face.
Another good thing to advise any adults in the pictures is not to look at the camera when they’re underwater. It’s a natural reaction when you’re having your picture taken and their mind will be focused on the baby in their arms so remind them to keep their eyes on the child just before they dip down. If they look towards the child it helps to create an intimate portrait rather than something cheesy.
And finally, when you’re doing the edit don’t worry if the parents or kids aren’t smiling or the pictures aren’t pin sharp. Just go with the flow as its sometimes the fun, out of focus pictures that can tell a bigger story.
So there we go! I hope this three-part guide has been useful, I'd love to know if you have had a go yourself too,
Zena Holloway is an underwater photographer based in London and mother of 3 young children. Her acclaimed images of babies underwater have featured across a range of media including National Geographic, Paris Match and the BBC Human Body series. Besides photographing babies she shoots fine art, editorial, celebrities, sport, fashion and lifestyle imagery. Her work deviates from the stereotypical directness associated with underwater photography, as she strives to push the boundaries of her imagination and the limits of creativity.
You can also check her out on Instagram and Facebook.