H2Open Magazine

Angela (also see post about Swimming Times Magazine) wrote another article about stunt training, this time for H2Open magazine. As stunt training involves also swimming in clothes, her idea was to get some portraits of her in a dress in open water. I loved the idea, as it gave me a lot of creative freedom, and immediately one picture of Joe McNally came to my mind, where the model is in the water at sunset with just the head, or actually eyes, above water level.

As location for the shoot we chose a nice rocky beach in Dorset and started in the late afternoon, beginning next to the water with a dry dress and slowly getting further and further into the water. This time I also spent some time in the water, sometimes with the camera just inches above sea level. Luckily it was July now and the water not too cold.

I couldn’t have done it without my girlfriend, who was a great assistant. Firstly on the rocky beach there was no chance to put a light stand down, secondly she was a great help checking details in the makeup and the dress, and the posing of the subject.

I wanted a cooler look, with a dark blue sky, so I chose to start with my camera set to tungsten white balance, which gave the sky a darker and more saturated blue look, while I put some CTO gel on my flash, to get some more neutral light on to my subject. In the first three pictures we used a small lumiquest softbox, which was still a hard light, but more directional. It was a great spot for Angela, and as the waves were coming in and pushing water up behind her, I was able to catch a few good moments.

For the rest of the shoot we just used my normal big softbox for a better quality of light. Angela is a passionate open water swimmer, so she was up for going all the way into the water, even though it was getting quite cold throughout the evening.


The days are quite long in July and we kept shooting until about 10pm and got back to London at around 1am, very knackered. But it was a great collaboration and teamwork and it has been one of my favorite shoots so far!