Faking Underwater Portraits – Featuring photographer Joao Carlos

Want to shoot underwater portraits but don’t have access to a pool or any of the gear?

Try this. I just found this post on Fstoppers.com from photographer Joao Carlos. Instead of shooing in a pool with underwater gear, he shot in his studio and editable powder (or you could use flour). Thrown at just the right time, and photographed with lights at just the right angle the flour looks like bubbles produced by a model underwater. See video below. All you need is a studio you can get flour dust everywhere, an assistant to throw the flour, or remote to fire your camera from a flour safe distance (you really don’t want flour all over your camera…), an off camera flash or two and a model who can move! In the interview on Profoto.com Carlos said he didn’t really do much post production, just some tonal work. In the finished piece he ended up rotating the image as well, which helps the underwater vibe. Something else to keep in mind, Carlos used Profo’s Pro-7a 1200 generator, which produces an incredibly fast flash duration. This is what froze the powder and the models hair, fingers & toes. Average studio strobes aren’t quite fast enough to freeze motion this fast. (and you all know a faster shutter won’t do squat, unless you are working with a speedlight and are capable of off camera high speed sync.)

All in all a phenomenal shoot. I’ve seen a lot of photography using products like flour dousing the model, but this is one of the best.

Feel free to link other photo shoots using flour or simulating underwater in the comments!

BTS Free Falling with Joao Carlos & Katy Cee from JOAOCARLOSMEDIA on Vimeo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *