Underwater Fantasy Shoot in Bali: 7 Divers, 2 Models and 1 Underwater Shipwreck

No photoshoot goes off without a hitch. But with the correct amount of planning in the way of a vision, schedule, proper team and backup equipment, the risk that you’ll run into a big hitch is dramatically reduced.

One photographer who seems to have mastered putting all of those components together seamlessly is Benjamin Von Wong, but it took all of his skill and more to make sure that his most recent crazy adventure came together seamlessly.

If you’re familiar with Von Wong’s work, you know that he often creates photographs involving fairly large productions, and this one was no exception: The entire shoot consisted of 2 models, 7 divers, and an underwater shipwreck. And if you know anything about diving, getting that many licensed people underwater with proper equipment is anything but simple. And that’s not even including the models and permission to use the shipwreck.

Using a Nikon D90, a Nikon 12–24mm f/4, Aquatica underwater housing, and none other than mother nature for light, Von Wong’s gear was actually the simplest piece of this puzzle.


Despite all of Von Wong’s planning and almost everything coming together perfectly, there were some challenges shooting underwater he specifically shares over on his blog. Most of them have to do with the above-mentioned issue of getting that many people underwater:

  • Normal models wouldn’t work unless they had extensive dive training and even then, they wouldn’t have the ability to hold their breaths for very long, especially at depth, so Free Divers were going to be required.
  • Normal clothes couldn’t be rented since the sea water would wreck them, so they had to find a designer willing to part with the clothing they were lending to Von Wong’s team.
  • Normal assistants wouldn’t work, specially trained safety divers were going to be necessary to ensure a smooth photoshoot.
  • Scouting would be complicated — local divers would be necessary in order to properly navigate around the wreck and deal with unpredictable changes in the weather and tide.
  • Lighting and gear would be limited — shooting underwater meant they had to work with what they had available: on camera strobes or natural light.




The BTS video, accompanying blog post and the resulting images show off the incredible amount of planning and work that went into creating these surreal images, while the images speak for themselves.

Von Wong seems to continually push out images that take the viewers out of this world and this shoot is no different. Whether it’s information or inspiration you’re looking for, this series and accompanying video comes through in spades.

(via Von Wong)

Image credits: Photographs by Von Wong and used with permission

  • Andy Austin

    Beautiful… Von Wong has to be one of my favorite photographers. He does amazing work, he’s also an amazing person too.

  • Thomas Kryton

    Some absolutely stunning images.

  • Banan Tarr

    Flawless execution of a what is fast becoming cliche.

  • María Azucena Arizo Borillo

    Fantastic, it is so beautiful..

  • MRowlos

    wish woulda gone more realistic rather than photoshopped to hell

  • Vin Weathermon

    Wish you knew what you were talking about. Do you dive? Have you ever tried to light underwater? Do you know what photoshopped to hell really looks like? Because the work I’ve seen here is not over the top….and if you want realistic you would not have a girl in a gown and seven divers there.

  • George R. Horn

    Well being a diver and also an underwater photographer I can appreciate his work even more. To be honest his work underwater was probably the easiest. His models did the really hard work and I commend them. What I really like is his humility in giving the others all the praise, sure sign of class. Having that many really good people is a Godsend. When I was shooting I shot film, not digital. Now I can only look back at my photos and remember, having Spinal Stenosis stopped my diving.
    Truly an amazing set of photos, great work Benjamin.

  • George R. Horn

    MRowlos, I have to agree with Vin, he did not photoshop those images much, I am an underwater photographer, as a matter of fact my photos have gone around the world in the exhibition “Alien Stingers”. Benjamin allowed the photos to dictate the need to bring up a little lighting, choosing a white balance that worked. Please those photos work, and they work well. What he accomplished with his team is beautiful, and that is all it needs to be. Plus he did not hide the fact he photoshopped it, did he?

  • Cahaya Kebanggaan

    Like a dream! I love this kind of photography.