FAQs - Vanessa Clementson

FAQs

Why do you shoot underwater portraits?

Underwater portrait photography is gaining popularity and it’s easy to see why! As soon as I discovered the medium and looked at what others were doing, I fell in love with it and decided that’s what I want to do. It combines my passions for photography, especially people and my love of the water as well as doing something a bit different that many people haven’t seen before. It is challenging and unpredictable and I love it!


What experience do you have?

I have a Visual Communications degree, majoring in Photography from UTS Sydney. Following a career in graphic design, I’ve been working as a freelance photographer in Singapore for the past 9 years, specialising in family portraits and maternity whilst having 3 kids of my own. I loved it but felt it was time to find something fresh and underwater portraits made perfect sense!

I have been scuba diving for about 20 years and dive at every opportunity while travelling. Im fascinated by the underwater world and find it quite meditative. I started taking my compact camera snorkelling or diving and became a PADI qualified underwater photographer about 10 years ago. Now the technology has improved and I’ve invested in the best Ikelite housing and equipment for my Canon 5D Mark iii. Yes it is scary taking my precious camera in the water but the results are worth it!


Where do we shoot?

Many people have access to swimming pools in Singapore either at a private house or condo.   If you don't then I can arrange a pool location.


What if I can’t hold my breath for long?

It’s ok, you don’t need to! Just a few seconds is enough and with a little practice before you can get more comfortable underwater.


How do I look natural underwater?

Many people have this doubt, but with a little practice you can be looking perfectly natural underwater just as on land! I send some tips in advance and suggest some techniques to practise and it’s amazing how quickly people relax during a shoot. 


When is the best time to do an underwater maternity shoot and is it safe?

Between 32-38 weeks is the best time to show off your beautiful bump. A few seconds is fine to hold your breath and we have plenty of rest breaks. It’s perfect for maternity photos as you can be cool, wieghtless and gracefull in the pool!


I’d love a ‘Nirvana’ album cover shot of my baby. What age is best?

Babies have an excellent breath hold reflex and tend to open their eyes under the water which makes for some great shots. It’s best that they’ve had some experience in the water before and are comfortable with submersions. At least one parent/adult would need be in the pool with them to pass them under the water and we work within their limitations. The youngest baby I've photographed underwater was 12 weeks but I would say 6 - 18 months is ideal. However, there is no guarantee they will co-operate on the day.


What if the kids aren’t in the mood on the day?

These things happen! As a mother of 3 myself I know how it is. The great thing about underwater shoots is it’s just like having fun in the pool. If they are not in the mood to pose, we just do candid shots and if they’re not in the mood to put their face underwater, we do over/under shots. I suggest to bring dress up costumes if they are into certain characters or props such as bikes, scooters or even football nets to bring out their individual interests.


I would love to do a family underwater shoot but my 2 year old can’t swim yet?

It's not a problem! We can get great shots with non-swimmers underwater, passing between parents or on the surface with floaties.


I can't open my eyes underwater. What can we do?

Some pools are easier on the eyes than others. If children can't open their eyes then it's ok to wear goggles. There are some fun designs around that can add to the look as well (Bling2O, Seed, Zoggs). For adults you can keep your eyes closed and then just blink them open a few times for the shot. If it's very difficult you can keep them closed and wear sunglasses which gives a cool look. I suggest to bring eye drops for after the shoot to ease any redness or stinging. Again, this is something that can be improved with practice.


How do I move and pose underwater?

Slow, fluid movements work best in the water. Think elongated fingers, toes and limbs like a dancer. Again, feeling calm and relaxed will help. I will help direct you and we work within your comfort level.


Can you do something special for a gift or wall art?

Absolutely! It’s a great gift idea for any occasion and I love creative digital artworks and montages. Think a superhero flying through the sky, a mermaid swimming in the ocean, a family flying off over Singapore! The only limit is your imagination. I have a variety of different costumes, fabrics, backdrops and props we can work with and you are welcome to bring your own as well. 









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