Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

My first UW Fashion Shoot....


  • Please log in to reply
49 replies to this topic

#1 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:02 AM

Hi Guys,

I've been asked to do an UW fashion shoot for a local magazine, i've done topside fashion work but never UW. I've looked over some past threads with good pointers but have a couple questions.

What focal lengths do people prefer? I know UW closer and wider is better, but in fashion, normal lenses are preferred. I'm torn between my 17-55mm or 11-16mm (on DX). I'm looking at a 20'x20' backdrop and at 11mm i can only be about 6 or 7 feet away to fill the frame w the backdrop. At 16 or 17mm i get a few more feet separation.

Do people prefer to light from above or UW? I've considered using an umbrella on a UW strobe attached beneath a surface float but fear for the backscatter, even if well separated from the camera (have a 10' sync cable). If i setup topside, I'd try an UW strobe on a float to optically trigger the topside strobes. I have plenty of strobes, 5 UW and 4 topside, but no studio strobes or pw's to work with. I'm a little worried about triggering optically in daylight. (I may try to splice an old hotshoe cable to to an UW sync cable to fire my nikon SU-800 with radiopoppers on my topside nikon strobes)

What about directing the model. What's the best way for them to dive down, head first, then pose or feet first using hands to push up, then down, like they teach in lifeguarding? Any specific techniques for getting the flowing material & hair to work well?

Anything else i need to take into consideration? i am getting the pool professionally cleaned beforehand. Thanx guys, i really appreciate any help. Cheers,

Chris
D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#2 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 21 April 2009 - 10:38 AM

Hi Guys,

I've been asked to do an UW fashion shoot for a local magazine, i've done topside fashion work but never UW. I've looked over some past threads with good pointers but have a couple questions.

What focal lengths do people prefer? I know UW closer and wider is better, but in fashion, normal lenses are preferred. I'm torn between my 17-55mm or 11-16mm (on DX). I'm looking at a 20'x20' backdrop and at 11mm i can only be about 6 or 7 feet away to fill the frame w the backdrop. At 16 or 17mm i get a few more feet separation.

Do people prefer to light from above or UW? I've considered using an umbrella on a UW strobe attached beneath a surface float but fear for the backscatter, even if well separated from the camera (have a 10' sync cable). If i setup topside, I'd try an UW strobe on a float to optically trigger the topside strobes. I have plenty of strobes, 5 UW and 4 topside, but no studio strobes or pw's to work with. I'm a little worried about triggering optically in daylight. (I may try to splice an old hotshoe cable to to an UW sync cable to fire my nikon SU-800 with radiopoppers on my topside nikon strobes)

What about directing the model. What's the best way for them to dive down, head first, then pose or feet first using hands to push up, then down, like they teach in lifeguarding? Any specific techniques for getting the flowing material & hair to work well?

Anything else i need to take into consideration? i am getting the pool professionally cleaned beforehand. Thanx guys, i really appreciate any help. Cheers,

Chris

Hi Chris,
I'll try to answer some of these questions, and I'm sure James will add when he sees the post. I would caution you though to do some test shoots say ahead of time (I'll always be happy to fly to Bermuda to help :( ) if this is an important commercial gig. Maybe have the model (s) work briefly with you head of time to make sure they work well underwater. I think either of the lenses will work but with DX my choice would be the 11-16 or the Nikon 16mm. Tokina 10-17 at 17 end will work as well. The key point to instruct your model is to keep hands and feet in the same plane parallel to the image plane, and not extend hands or feet towards the camera, which will of course result in distortion. To start with I would use one strobe on the camera balanced with daylight; then add a strobe for fill either topside or underwater, but start simple, add complexity as you see your results.
Presently I use 2 topside studio strobes with a long arm on camera strobe(at lowest power for fill mostly). As far as how to trigger etc, I'd test to see what works ahead of time. I use a long synch cord to trigger topside strobes linked to Pocket Wizards. Underwater slave triggering works fine, but topside I have found slave triggering to be a little eratic.
You can add softboxes, I use them topside with snoots as well - I find it cumbersome for the underwater strobes, and have destroyed a few umbrellas underwater, but James likes to use them underwater. I prefer to just add diffussers to underwater strobes, like milk container plastic.
The best thing to teach the model is simply how to sink passively, no diving or anything. Simply have them practice a little hyperventilation, then exhale and even continue to exhale as they sink. This way they do not waste energy flailing about to stay down. Depending on the model, she may have 20-40 secs or so working time. Get them relaxed doing this first ,then begin gentle movement to allow garments hair etc to flow. Tell them to avoid conditioners etc in the hair that prevent soft gentle movement of the hair.
In addition to pool cleanliness, make sure pH is around 7.4 to avoid eye discomfort etc.
Best of luck,
Jeff

Edited by loftus, 21 April 2009 - 11:27 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#3 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:22 PM

Thanx Jeff for the advice. I am doing a test shoot on friday, with 2-3 models and the clothing designer, to work out the process before doing the real shoot a couple days later.

I understand the point of starting simple, but I will never be satisfied with one strobe balanced with daylight. I'm using a black background so need to underexpose ambient as much as possible, shooting in the afternoon to keep sunlight off the backdrop. I will likely start with an umbrella key, either UW or topside, an UW fill and a hairlight, probably mounted to the diving board. I'll probably try an umbrella UW first but mounted below a float ring, possibly anchored with a pole to the side of the pool to keep strobe distance constant. Use an on camera fill light to trigger the umbrella key. Don't really care about destroying the umbrella, they're cheap.

Thanks also for the posing tips, exhaling to sink, and keeping limbs in the plane of the camera, makes sense. And not using conditioner, i guess cause it weighs the hair down? Will tell them.

Oh, another question, should we overdo the makeup to compensate for the colour fade UW?

thanx again, cheers,

chris

Edited by Undertow, 21 April 2009 - 02:35 PM.

D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#4 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:50 PM

Thanx Jeff for the advice. I am doing a test shoot on friday, with 2-3 models and the clothing designer, to work out the process before doing the real shoot a couple days later.

I understand the point of starting simple, but I will never be satisfied with one strobe balanced with daylight. I'm using a black background so need to underexpose ambient as much as possible, shooting in the afternoon to keep sunlight off the backdrop. I will likely start with an umbrella key, either UW or topside, an UW fill and a hairlight, probably mounted to the diving board. I'll probably try an umbrella UW first but mounted below a float ring, possibly anchored with a pole to the side of the pool to keep strobe distance constant. Use an on camera fill light to trigger the umbrella key. Don't really care about destroying the umbrella, they're cheap.

Thanks also for the posing tips, exhaling to sink, and keeping limbs in the plane of the camera, makes sense. And not using conditioner, i guess cause it weighs the hair down? Will tell them.

Oh, another question, should we overdo the makeup to compensate for the colour fade UW?

thanx again, cheers,

chris

Yeah I don't expect you will get your final images with the simple setup, though you might be pleasantly surprised using sunlight as 'main light', but nevertheless I always find building the light setup from simple to more complex is helpful. I like to change one variable at a time.
Makeup depends on the effect you want I guess. I do find that the facial foundation may need to be a touch darker than topside to avoid a paler mask like appearance, particularly if the model has a bit of a tan.

Edited by loftus, 22 April 2009 - 04:08 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#5 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:40 AM

Yeah I don't expect you will get your final images with the simple setup, though you might be pleasantly surprised using sunlight as 'main light', but nevertheless I always find building the light setup from simple to more complex is helpful. I like to change one variable at a time.
Makeup depends on the effect you want I guess. I do find that the facial foundation may need to be a touch darker than topside to avoid a paler mask like appearance, particularly if the model has a bit of a tan.


yeah, as i setup my lighting, i work one strobe at a time to find the balance, takes time but works. so yeah, build from simple up.

my models i think are all dark skinned, but we'll have a chance to experiment with makeup during the test shoot anyways.

thanx again for the tips, also looking forward to hearign from james if he has any input....
D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#6 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:40 AM

Hi Guys,

Here's a couple photos from my test shoot. I'm doing the final one tomorrow. I'm not that satisfied with the lighting, need to work on that a little. I had 2 UW slaves on an umbrella under a surface float and a fill flash on the camera which i ended up pointing straight at the slaves to get them firing consistently. Didn't bother with a hairlight, but i'll give that a go next time. It was quite hard getting a black background as i anticipated, had to really boost contrast and burn a couple sections in the photos, but it was managable. My umbrella slaves somehow failed later on and had to continue with just my on camera flash, so lighting was quite weak.

Any tips?? Thanx, i really appreciate any input.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image
D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#7 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:24 AM

I strongly recommend you try to add some topside lighting. A while back I changed from in pool only to topside with in pool. (Alex Mustard encouraged me to move to this approach) Even allowing some ambient lighting (sunlight) can help. Burning in the background is a bit of a nuisance but not the end of the world. I know James uses slaves quite a bit, but I have gone to a hard wired solution with a 25' cord to Pocket Wizards outside the pool and studio strobes. James uses underwater strobes topside, I likestudio strobes for power, recycling etc. If you want to talk more you can pm me or we can chat on the phone.

Edited by loftus, 28 April 2009 - 11:49 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#8 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:21 PM

Same here - PM me if you'd like to chat or Skype. This is too in-depth to type in here right now.

Jeff likes topsides strobes hooked up to electrical sockets. I'm more "risk averse" so I use amphibious flashes topside too triggered optically. You probably have 220v power in Bermuda so I'd be ever MORE averse to using anything with an electrical cord, but that's just me.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#9 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 29 April 2009 - 09:01 AM

thanx guys, I'd love to chat about it but time is not on my side. i'm definitely gonna try to use topside lighting, using an UW strobe on a 10' cord to optically fire 3 or 4 nikon speedlights on an umbrella topside. that shoudl give me plenty of power and good recycling. shooting this afternoon, we'll see how it goes. many thanx for the help. cheers,

chris
D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#10 Daylon

Daylon

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 28 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas
  • Interests:Scuba / Photography / Stage Acting

Posted 02 May 2009 - 03:26 AM

Love the reflection on #3 -

I doing a test u/w shoot in about 3 weeks.. judging from what I've seen, I'd say that extravagant eye, lip / body makeup would be called for considering how the water tends to wash out the skin tones.

I've got a dual strobe u/w rig, and would love a topside optical slave or two.. but as James told me, "I'm just not comfortable with something plugged into a wall socket right next to the pool"

I'm thinking maybe I could use my sb-800's with some sort of optical trigger? I don't own pocket wizards... any other way to trigger them as a dumb slave setup?

Daylon

Hi Guys,

Here's a couple photos from my test shoot. I'm doing the final one tomorrow. I'm not that satisfied with the lighting, need to work on that a little. I had 2 UW slaves on an umbrella under a surface float and a fill flash on the camera which i ended up pointing straight at the slaves to get them firing consistently. Didn't bother with a hairlight, but i'll give that a go next time. It was quite hard getting a black background as i anticipated, had to really boost contrast and burn a couple sections in the photos, but it was managable. My umbrella slaves somehow failed later on and had to continue with just my on camera flash, so lighting was quite weak.

Any tips?? Thanx, i really appreciate any input.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


...www.daylon.us...

#11 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 02 May 2009 - 07:28 AM

OK it's the weekend so I have some time woowhoo!


Firstly these are excellent for your first attempt Undertow. The poses are nice and you've used a good outfit to show the underwater flow - and her long hair adds to this well.

I think things to work on for next time are either getting REALLY clear water or moving in closer. There is a haze in the photos. You can also get rid of some of this by adjusting the blackpoint slider in photoshop or lightroom - you'll need to move it to the right.

I think some indirect lighting will always help. The nice thing about slaves is that you can put them to the side or above the model.

Daylon - you can buy REALLY cheap optical triggers for land flashes. Here's one that screws into the PC socket:

http://www.bhphotovi...r...ger&ci=9810

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#12 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 02 May 2009 - 05:57 PM

"I'm just not comfortable with something plugged into a wall socket right next to the pool"

Just want to emphasize here, if any one ever considers using studio strobes as I do, that one has to be meticulous in the setup.
First I set up the stands without the strobes and secure them with about 40lbs of weight - I use bags of rocks from a garden store.
The lights are placed away from the area where folks enter and leave the pool.
After the lights are placed on the stands I run an outdoor grade extension cord with built in circuit breaker. The cords are run away from the pool deck walking area and the socket is about 10 feet from the pool.
The cord from the housing to the Pocket Wizard is secured on a separate stand so that if that cord is pulled it will not pull on the light stand.
Believe me I don't want to get fried either, and those studio strobes sure put out a lot of light.

Edited by loftus, 02 May 2009 - 05:58 PM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#13 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 02 May 2009 - 07:01 PM

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for explaining your safety precautions. I too would love to have a 1600 watt-second flash to use from above - that would be way cool.

When you say circuit breaker, do you mean they are plugged into a GFCI - like what most people have in their bathroom or kitchen?

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#14 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 04 May 2009 - 12:11 PM

OK it's the weekend so I have some time woowhoo!


Firstly these are excellent for your first attempt Undertow. The poses are nice and you've used a good outfit to show the underwater flow - and her long hair adds to this well.

I think things to work on for next time are either getting REALLY clear water or moving in closer. There is a haze in the photos. You can also get rid of some of this by adjusting the blackpoint slider in photoshop or lightroom - you'll need to move it to the right.

I think some indirect lighting will always help. The nice thing about slaves is that you can put them to the side or above the model.


Thanx James, the second shoot went much better. I used an umbrella topside with 3 speedlights triggered optically by an uw strobe on a 10 foot cord on a surface float tied in place near the side of the pool. I think the haze was from the UW umbrella i had off to the side the first time that just really washed out the photo, already took the black point way down and started losing the dress in it. This time we had practice, the model didn't put conditioner in, so hair flowed better, professional makeup and more side lit. I'm not supposed to publicly show the photos before the mag comes out in june, but i've gotten the ok to post a couple as the readership won't be seeing them here:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

The last one has a bunch of bubbles that must have gotten trapped under the dress, though i kinda like that and the glows from the key at camera left and the hairlight i added in behind. however the backdrop must have ballooned up and caught the hairlight, don't like that but not sure how to edit it out, unless i just burn everything to black..... suggestions?

thanks again guys for the invaluable help, i'm much happier with these shots and may do another shoot specifically for the clothing designer. cheers,

chris
D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#15 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 04 May 2009 - 12:44 PM

Love the reflection on #3 -

I doing a test u/w shoot in about 3 weeks.. judging from what I've seen, I'd say that extravagant eye, lip / body makeup would be called for considering how the water tends to wash out the skin tones.

I've got a dual strobe u/w rig, and would love a topside optical slave or two.. but as James told me, "I'm just not comfortable with something plugged into a wall socket right next to the pool"

I'm thinking maybe I could use my sb-800's with some sort of optical trigger? I don't own pocket wizards... any other way to trigger them as a dumb slave setup?

Daylon


Hi Daylon,

As i mentioned in my last post, i had an uw strobe on a 10 foot cord attached to a surface float. the float was tied in place with 3 pieces of string so it fired consistently at my 3 nikon speedlights (2 900's and 1 800) set to SU-4 mode (dumb slave mode) into an umbrella on the side of the pool. obviously with their slave sensors pointed outward. and i did need all 3 on full power to get the light i wanted. next time i would add a fourth.

here's a couple shots of the setup taken by someone else while i was shooting UW. you can see the float with the corded strobe at the left of the first shot pointed up at the umbrella above. the umbrella stand was tied to the fence behind so it could not tip over into the pool. i also had a 2nd strobe on the camera for fill. and yes, i know i'm not mr neat & tidy photographer........... it was a really busy day.....

Posted Image

Posted Image

cheers,

chris

Edited by Undertow, 04 May 2009 - 01:14 PM.

D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#16 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 04 May 2009 - 01:34 PM

Wow, these new shots are fantastic - great job!!!

I wish Canon speedlites came w/ a built-in optical slave function. You have to buy a "peanut slave" for them.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#17 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 05 May 2009 - 02:50 AM

Nice Chris. I think it almost unavoidable to sometimes have some light leak onto the background; so I don't hesitate to use the paintbrush and burn in in PS if needed. What material are you using for a background, looks nice and big.
James, yes I use an outdoors extention with GFCI.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#18 Undertow

Undertow

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 441 posts
  • Location:Bermuda

Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:21 AM

Nice Chris. I think it almost unavoidable to sometimes have some light leak onto the background; so I don't hesitate to use the paintbrush and burn in in PS if needed. What material are you using for a background, looks nice and big.
James, yes I use an outdoors extention with GFCI.


it was either yourself or james that posted in another thread about using 4 king size bedsheets sewn together so that's exactly what i did. looked into other options like fabric stores and large proper photo backdrops, the sheets seemed the simplest and cheapest, had a friend visiting from the US pick them up from walmart, that place must be great.
D200, Aquatica, 10.5, sig 15, 12-24, 17-55, 60, 105
3x SB-105

#19 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 05 May 2009 - 08:21 AM

it was either yourself or james that posted in another thread about using 4 king size bedsheets sewn together so that's exactly what i did. looked into other options like fabric stores and large proper photo backdrops, the sheets seemed the simplest and cheapest, had a friend visiting from the US pick them up from walmart, that place must be great.

Yes, that's what I've done till now. Only problem is they tend to lose their color.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#20 JasonDPG

JasonDPG

    Clownfish

  • Industry
  • Pip
  • 23 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York
  • Interests:Conceptual Photography, Ocean Conservation, Internet Businesses, Snowboarding

Posted 11 May 2009 - 06:08 AM

Great job. Using a studio strobe rather than the speedlights will allow for more light and more control over the light hitting the model. I have to imagine that you lost a lot of light with that umbrella so far away from the water and model. As soon as that light hits the water it disperses and becomes soft and flat. That being said the images look great, you did a great job!

PS: There are ways to shoot both hardwired underwater strobes (for key or fill) and wirelessly sync your topside lighting without using optical triggered (which can be inconsistent and a pain in the ass at best). Will post a set up for that soon.
**************************************************************************************
Jason Heller
www.DivePhotoGuide.com | www.JasonHeller.com
| www.UnderwaterCompetition.com | www.NYUPS.org