Photographer Nick Saglimbeni recently shot an image of Jhené Aiko for a Humane Society campaign to save the shark population. The goal of the image was to photograph Jhené in the ocean at night (or at least make it look that way). To create this shot, Nick decided to use a pool and strobes to create a similar look.
Besides the obvious risks to talent, shooting in an actual ocean isn’t terribly practical. There’s nowhere to place backlights, and you’re certainly not going to run electricity in the deep blue sea. So, we opted for a much more controlled environment: a large swimming pool. As you’ll see in the behind-the-scenes video below, our first challenge was turning a bright daylight location into a night scene. The second was getting the lights and camera into the water.
Nick used an overhead scrim to cut down on ambient sunlight and Profoto strobes to light the scene enough to stop down his camera and block out all remaining natural light. For his key light, Nick used a Photex Softlighter and for the hair light, he appears to have used a bare flash head. To create a more dramatic shadow on the cheeks, Nick also used 2 black flags on either side of his model.
The final image is a gorgeous shot that would be relatively easy for the average photographer to recreate, even with speedlights. Hopefully, this image will be one more small step toward protecting our oceans and shark population.