How long can you hold your breath? I only need 1/60th of a second.


I was asked by an editorial client if I’d be interested in photographing members of the Miami City Ballet for an editorial UNDERWATER. We had talked about doing an underwater fashion story in the past, but I wanted it to be more then girls swishing around in gowns.  I presented the publisher and editor with my idea and a couple of practice shots of my wife, combined with the wrecks. They loved the direction, and we were on!

I knew that the dancers could give me the right form I was looking for and that they are very disciplined with control of their bodies, but I had no idea if they could work in the water.

I followed up with them sending over a “How to Guide” to holding your breath for longer periods of time, and asked them to read up and practice.

The day of the shoot finally arrived, I had decided to shoot the wrecks prior to the dancers, keeping in mind how I would like to position the dancers in post. I decided that shooting the dancers in a pool in Miami, and editing them into the wrecks, would be the safest way of producing this. Additionally, we had a very small editorial budget to work with. Hiring all the support services I would need to get my dancers 100’ down and onto a wreck in the ocean, while safely posing, wasn’t the right approach in this instance. Even so, shooting around and under the water is not very forgiving. Every aspect has to be thought out as little mistakes can exponentially grow and become major issues.

Our shoot came off seamlessly. We used the sun as our main source throughout the day with strategically placed reflectors to maintain an organic consistent look to match what we were getting in the ocean on the wrecks.