Aqua Effect

Aniket Gaikwad,who shot an ad for an international brand in a Pune swimming pool,shares the tricks of underwater fashion photography

Written by Anjali Jhangiani | Published: July 13, 2012 12:49 am

Aniket Gaikwad,who shot an ad for an international brand in a Pune swimming pool,shares the tricks of underwater fashion photography

With her hands outspread and hair neatly tied in a ponytail,a model looks straight into the camera as her silver-white dress floats around. In the greenish-blue water,this creates a surreal effect. At first glance,it is easy to mistake her as someone who is enjoying a swim in the deep sea. However,the catalogue of a Singaporean fashion brand High Crafts has a different story to tell: she is modelling for their products. And probe a bit more and the Parsi Gymkhana swimming pool in Pune’s Camp area turns out to be the location where her photos were captured by photographer Aniket Gaikwad.

Since ‘ocean’ is the theme for the latest collection of garments by this international brand,the designer Kevin insisted on an underwater shoot. Following this,Pune-based Gaikwad was entrusted with the task of shooting these images. And he chose to create the ocean effect at the city’s swimming pool. It took him two days to complete the shoot.

While there are many photographers who pursue underwater photography,only a handful pursue underwater fashion photography. “This is primarily because underwater fashion photography is not only expensive but also time-consuming. The time required for such a shoot is three times more than that of a normal one. Sometimes a photographer might not get the desired frames for long. The models can shut their eyes due to water. Getting the right lighting can be tough too,” explains Gaikwad. After graduating from Symbiosis College,Pune,four years ago,he joined Tou ,a fashion photographer in Malaysia,as an apprentice and learnt the ropes of underwater fashion from him.

Even though his clients prefer the safe surroundings of a pool,Gaikwad loves to shoot in the sea. “The wave current is not a big problem,but salinity of water is. Due to that,it is difficult for the models to keep their eyes open,” says the shutterbug.

An underwater fashion photo shoot needs a lot of planning. The models are trained regarding how to breathe under water,face the camera and what expressions to give. The stylists too have to work extra hard on their looks. “One can only imagine how difficult it is to look gorgeous when you can’t breathe and your clothes are floating around you,” adds Gaiwad,who uses 5D mark 2 medium format Mamiya camera with water proofing accessories like casings for the camera,belts and the lens.

The special lens are coated with casing three-four times more than the normal lens to make it water proof. This also gives the photographer a higher level of clarity under water and adds brightness to the image. The lighting is done on top of the pool and cameras are placed under the water.

Apart from these equipment,what this art of photography requires is patience. It is not possible to get the right click when you are shooting under water at one go. “The models go underwater and I just have a few seconds to go down and click away at random. If I’m lucky,I may get it right in the first few dips,” he adds.

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