Underwater Session FAQs
For some reason, swim sessions tend to be a little intimidating to swimmers. Hopefully, you'll find the answers to all your questions here and they provide a little better understanding of the flow and design behind your swim session.
"Do you travel?"
Absolutely! I love working with swimmers in different areas and different pools within North Carolina.
There is a travel fee for areas outside of Wake County ($75/hr of travel, which includes time there and back). I bring the exact same gear I use at home - no skimping despite the travel.
That said, I request a little more leg work on your end, but can guide you on the information I need to make sure the session goes smoothly. You are always welcome to travel to Cary to Triangle Aquatic Center, where I do most of my indoor swim work at no extra charge.
At my discretion, I will waive some of the travel fee if you have a group of swimmers wanting to have sessions in a single day or over a weekend. This is a great way of saving some money if you have a few teammates together who want a session. In this event, each swimmer is given their own session time so no one has more or less time than anyone else.
"I am a Senior and want to combine this with a regular session. Is that possible?"
Not only can you do it, but most of my senior swimmers do it! I recommend doing the traditional session first, which will last about 45 minutes, and then heading to the pool site to finish up. The additional charge is $125, or half price of a normal senior session. There are 2 requirements for this - (1) Both sessions have to occur on the same day, and (2) The location for the traditional senior session should be in close proximity to the pool you are using. Other that, we're good to go!
"What's an underwater session like?"
It's hard to visualize sometimes what these sessions are like, because most people don't realize they are even available. Certainly, I can explain it, but I think it's easier to show you. Take a look HERE to get a behind the scenes look at a real underwater session!
"Do you do underwater maternity or bridals sessions?"
Not currently. But feel to inquire. I may add this in the future and would be glad to discuss your needs.
"Is it safe to have flashes around water?"
I am fortunate that all my flashes, including my studio strobes, are battery operated. The batteries are lithium-ion and are fully sealed. Unlike many photographers who run countless cords to live power sources, my unit is self-contained with no cords to trip over.
In addition to being mounted to a heavy light stand, anytime I am around water, there is significant weight on the light stand - somewhere around 30 pounds. The wind won't blow that over nor will it accidentally get pushed into the pool.
In the highly unlikely event that the flash does fall in, I get to buy a new flash. The battery doesn't contain enough juice to shock anyone and, since the battery pack is sealed, there's no electrical current.
"What shots do we aim for?"
Most of the images will be shot under the water and up towards you. We will do all 4 strokes under the water. However, I will also shoot fly and breast stoke from above the water with an attempt to capture that perfectly symmetrical image of each. With the exception of the back stroke, for obvious reasons, all the images will attempt to capture the stroke with you face showing, but we'll get in to that during the session.
I always do my best to get a turn shot and dolphin kick image too. Easy as it sounds, this is often the most difficult one to really capture.
And lastly, I like to include a couple studio-type images on the block or with you just looking awesome.
If you need some inspiration, I recommend checking out Pinterest for swimming pictures. There's some great shots on there that may trigger something you want to give a little variety.
"How fast am I swimming during a session?"
Underwater sessions are a more technical shoot. Speed can be seen during meets. The underwater focuses on the part no one sees - the true beauty of your swimming. By swimming slower with a more mechanical focus, I also don't wear you out quickly.
There's a bit of timing and "posing" that go into getting these images, so it's likely that you'll swim each stroke multiple times (4-5) over shorter distances (1/3-1/2 a short course lane).
"Can I change Suits?"
Absolutely! You can change suits, caps, goggles, whatever you care to change.
"Any particular suit or clothing suggestions?"
A couple things I recommend are to bring your swim coat and wear a brighter color suit, especially if we are shooting indoors. The coat makes a nice prop for the studio shots and will keep you warm after getting out of the cooler pool water.
With indoor pools being darker, brighter suits tend to stand out more against the darker blue water.
Obviously, wear a comp suit, bring your googles and what ever cap you want to wear.
"Do you prefer outdoor or indoor pools?"
Great Question! The images between the two will be drastically different, so the decision will be greatly dependent upon what you want your images to look like.
Indoor pools tend to be darker and much more dramatic. Because of this darkness, if other swimmers are around you (but not in the next lane), they tend to disappear. Most swimmers like the indoor option for the drama. These are edited to be very contrasty and quite vibrant.
That said, indoor pools are, well, dark. The water appears darker. The background transitions to dark very quickly, especially when photographing towards a significant drop in depth.
Outdoor pools offer a couple things indoor pools tend to not - warmth and brightness! The natural light of the sun reflecting to the pool bottom offers bounced light to help fill in shadows for a more natural looking shot.
The drawback on outdoor pools is two-part: kids running around and other swimmers in the pool. I prefer, if using an outdoor pool, that we get permission to get in to it before it actually opens, normally about 1-2 hours before. That I can think of, no swimmer that I have worked with has ever been denied early access.
"Do I have any access to pools?"
Yes, I do. As the sponsor photographer of the TAC Titans, I have access to the Triangle Aquatic Center competition pool as well as the more shallow lap pool.
For a outdoor option, I have access to the local pool here in Zebulon. This 25 meter pool is fairly shallow and has great daylight access, especially in the morning. However, it is missing one thing - lane lines. If those are important to you for realism, we'll have to look somewhere else.
I've also worked with other country club pools and swim clubs in the area, so I'm sure we can find something that works.
"Do I have to order prints through you?"
The short, quick answer to this question is a simple "no". I would never require someone to order their prints through me.
I do, however, suggest it and even took the time to write an article explaining the importance of printing and why you should at least consider ordering your prints through me.
And, if pricing is what you think might be the problem, you should definitely take a look. Go ahead and look. You'll be surprised!
9225 Ashton Glen Drive, Zebulon, NC 27597 - (252) 341-0974 - Call Today