Photographing underwater possess its own challenges even in clear visibility. Coming into a body of water you are unaware of the conditions can make or break you, only if you allow it to.
I recently was able to teach at a boudoir photography conference in Halliburton Canada. My classes were strictly underwater working with two models for boudoir posing. The original pool was a large competition sized option with a heater for keeping the models and class attendees fairly warm. However during the course of a week prior to the event the pool was closed and we were on the search for a new option.
The new pool was an indoor spa which was also heated. When working out of your normal studio settings it is important to scout the area ahead of time but with this instance it was not a possibility. When I arrived I quickly realized the heaters and the jets were on for sometime creating a very cloudy murky water column.
While this could have quickly become a disaster to teach other students in, I flipped the switch and saw this as an incredible teaching moment. Instructors can talk all about the worst conditions to attendees, but being able to physically show them in these instances is priceless.
The idea of the long flowing dresses went right out the window due to the visibility. We needed to be within a few feet to get any detail so I had the class focus on headshots. Keeping a wide angle on in order to get as close to the subject as possible is important in this setting. Settings were generally f9, ISO 640. We used a Stella Pro light in order to grab some more dramatic looks for the model. A Lume Cube was added for a hair light as well. Using a constant was important as well to give the model a visual to focus on with the inability to see the camera through the murky water.
Adding texture to her wardrobe was important to give myself and the attendees something to work with in post production. After working minor color balance issues to bring back the reds I applied the Infinite Color Panel to add a bit more drama while lowering the opacity of that layer in order to have a seamless blend to the original ethereal but dark looks of the murky waters.
Any condition can have problematic issues to deal with however knowing how to overcome them easily can help you to stay calm. While it is great to know how to fix an issue, it is always best to scout the area before if it is possible. These quick tips can help you bring a session back if you find yourself in darker murky waters.