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How to Shoot ‘Underwater’ Portraits Without Anyone Getting Wet


For a long time, I have been building sets or props for my images, which in time developed into making and selling furniture as a hobby business. I thought it about time I made videos detailing the process of those builds and the “high budget” results that can be achieved with little financial outlay and a little DIY.

In this 4.5-minute video, I’ll take you through how to shoot underwater without getting wet! This can all be done in your own home for less than $60 using just a few scraps of wood, some acrylic, and some basic DIY skills.

What we are trying to make is a shallow pool of water on a clear acrylic sheet, through which we shine the light. This way when you run your hand through the water the light shining through it shows the ripples.

What You’ll Need

You can make this any size, but you need the wood frame to be slightly smaller than your acrylic sheet.

Start by cutting your wood down and making a box frame, drilling pilot holes so you don’t split the wood.

Attach the acrylic sheet by drilling pilot holes through and and using screws to hold it in place, use quite a few as the water will bend the acrylic.

Peel the protective layer of film off the acrylic and use all-purpose sealant around the edges (leave to cure for 24 hours).

We used duct tape as an extra precaution, mostly as we didn’t wait for the sealant to dry properly!

Fill with water, you want about a half-an-inch-deep pool of water.

Prop it up using boxes/ stands/ chairs, shine a light through it and run your hand through the water to watch the ripples form!

The Shoot

Position your model below the water and you’ll see the ripples dance around on them. A few things to note:

We had a grey tiled floor that complemented the colors and suited the look, we also had a light blue sheet in case that didn’t work, but you could take this further and add sand.

I used a blue gel on one of the flashes to help add the blue tone you expect to see in the water

Wet your model’s hair — this just helps to make it look a little more convincing.

Ask your model to lift their body off the floor, to add to the floating effect.

Have fun!

About the author: Raj Khepar is a wedding photographer and furniture maker based in Hampshire, England. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Khepar’s work on his website, YouTube, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Credits: Video filmed and edited by Adam Tyrrell