Photography: Get Soak'd!
Hannah Rieck | On 13, Nov 2013
Underwater photography is no easy swim in the ocean. Did you sea what I did there!?
It requires a strong swimmer, ridiculously heavy gear and spontaneity.
There are numerous changing variables. Between the water, the subject and the photographer, thinking on the spot is a necessity.
Enough about the negative! If you are good at it, the photographs can be incredible.
These images were taken by Megan Bull, creator of Soak’d Photography.
You can see more of her work on her Instagram: soakdphotography.
Megan spotted a lack of underwater photographers in the Brisbane region and decided to make it her niche. As you can see she definitely has a talent for this niche.
Megan began planning in January and is now equipped to take all your underwater shots. I spoke to Megan on her recent work.
CD: What kind of camera equipment do you use (i.e. camera body, lenses, water protection stuff, etc)?
Megan: I was using a Canon650d with an ultra wide lens and Ikelite housing but then disaster struck and the house flooded… Bye bye camera. So now I use my canon 6d with sea&sea housing and a couple of strobes for darker water. Much better setup.
CD: Are there any particular settings that you like to use (in terms of shutter speed, aperture, ISO)?
Megan: I’m always tweaking my settings, I don’t have a consistent setting. I like to keep the ISO low and I use a very fast shutter speed because it is impossible to stay still in the water!
CD: What motivated you to start your own water photography business?
Megan: I was working as a graphic designer for a few years but couldn’t deal with sitting at a desk looking at a computer all day everyday anymore. I’ve always been really interested in photography and freelanced on the side but everyone thinks they’re a photographer these days so I knew if I wanted to make photography a career I needed a niche that no one else was covering. I spend nearly every weekend at the beach bodyboarding and thought it would be sweet if I had photos, I searched the Internet for underwater photographers and I couldn’t find any… So there’s my niche. I’ll fill that market.
CD: Is there a lot of competition for this kind of work in Brisbane?
Megan: There are a few surf photographers but no one that shoots fashion or personal shoots or anything high end.
CD: What clients have you worked with?
Megan: I recently worked with Aprils Chance a local Brisbane street wear label for their new Summer swimwear launch. I work a lot on personal shoots with models wanting stand out portfolio images and also people just wanting different arty photos for themselves or as gifts. I’m looking to shoot some fun kids pool parties in the near future too, underwater photo booth style with lots of fun props!
CD: Where is your favourite location?
Megan: I can’t give away my secret spots!!! I like to work in areas that have elements I can use, like shipwrecks and nice backdrops. Anywhere with clear blue water is ideal though. I would love to shoot off of the islands, with colourful coral backdrops. I’m also on the hunt for come cliff caves, they would make for some amazing photos. And I definitely wouldn’t say no to going to the Bahamas or Hawaii, amazingly crystal clear water and white sand… Yes please.
CD: Is it difficult to get the ‘right’ image (because water is involved)?
Megan: Yes. You can never really plan out a shoot, I can pick locations and give the models poses and tips but as for how the photos will turn out, it’s always a surprise. People aren’t used to posing underwater, trying to get photos with open/normal looking eyes is hard (I like to use sunglasses as a prop to help). Bubbles coming off of peoples faces, hair getting in the way, youâ€™re constantly moving, especially in the ocean and the camera gear weighs a tonne. You definitely need to be comfortable in the water and a fairly good swimmer, but it’s an excellent workout! You won’t need to go to the gym for days.
CD: What work influenced you to start this type of photography?
Megan: Elena Kalis is my favourite and most inspiring, her work is amazing, especially the Alice in Wonderland series. There are so many amazing underwater photographers overseas, I find new ones everyday. It’s a challenging job but I absolutely love it and it definitely beats sitting at a desk all day!!!