As many of you saw this past week on my fanpage Bellydance By Jennifer Inc., the underwater photoshoot pictures were a hit! My photographer Rebecca Anne Waldron from ~R~A~W~Art Photography was very pleased with my modeling during the unique circumstances we were in and several ladies have been wondering how the heck I looked so calm, so read below for what to expect if you plan to model underwater.
Get Used to Water Being Up Your Nose
Many people will plug their nose underwater or make faces when water enters their nostrils, but this is something you cannot do when modeling. Although uncomfortable, allow the water to get in your nose, and as soon as you come up for air, simply hold both sides of your nose with your fingers and squeeze water out.
The photographer and her assistants looked at me cray cray at first, but it was the quickest way to get rid of the water and reset for next dip under.
No Air Similar to Flutters
If you use flutters a lot in your dancing then shooting underwater will be much easier as you are already used to having minimal air in your lungs and holding it like that for a while. If you are not used to the sensation of having a small amount of air for a long time, I recommend you begin practicing now or it will be a nightmare for you and your photographer with only being able to do one pose at a time underwater.
Beware of What You Wear!
I chose the fabrics for the dress I wore and designed the garment myself as I wanted something that was very natural and light weight for underwater. Although my dress weighed less than a quarter of a pound on land this dress felt like 20 lbs underwater and tangled itself around my legs so much that I could not swim and had to rely on the help of the assistants to get me around.
It is quite hard to not have control,and the idea that you could drown if alone became very scary. I really recommend that if you are not a good swimmer or wear a garment over half a pound in weight that you stay in shallow areas for a shoot. Always shoot with assistants, and be comfortable with the fact that you may not be able to swim in your garment, only sink.
Our team shot in Blue Springs National Park as the idea of chlorine in a pool was not my favorite to be honest. Rather than having burning eyes and soaking in chemicals, we opted for fresh water, but this came with a price…it was freezing! So cold in fact that my body began shaking continuously and I began to go numb in my fingers and toes.
Modeling in freezing cold waters was not easy. Exhaling and not having any air helped, as well as focusing on the camera to distract me from the cold. The way I see it, this was a job, so you simply have to do it and try and get the shot. No diva attitudes here if you want to model underwater.
Hair is a chore! You need to use your arms to pull it up and then quickly get into pose before it has completely fallen again. Ugh!
Curves look best as far as poses. The more rounded and suspended you can look the better. So as soon as you decide to go under, start in pose so you fall to the bottom in this shape and the photographer gets several shots of this.
Point your toes! Whether a dancer or not, you want to look as effortless as possible so for goodness sakes point your toes and don’t look like a scared fish kicking everywhere.
You Will Look 15lbs Heavier
This is probably my least favorite reality of underwater shooting. Since there is less gravity everything sort of floats up and your face begins to look much rounder, adding about 15lbs to you on camera aaah! I wish this wasn’t so, but it is a fact, so try to angle your face when possible to the camera with minimal expanses of check.
Keep Calm and Model
All in all, the best shots are those where the model is calm and in the moment, so having a wonderful photographer such as Rebecca and her hilarious assistants was such a treat. They made sure I was as comfortable as possible, we had a nice lunch break, they listened to my needs when I began to go numb and made sure I had sun time, and etc. If your model is happy, then she will model better and in turn the facial expressions and shots will be better. Have fun in your next shoot!
If you would like to learn more about me visit my About Orlando Belly Dancer Jennifer page.