Forums > Model Colloquy > underwater photo shoot issues

Model

Kitty gLitter

Posts: 29

Boston, Massachusetts, US

I'm almost 22 years old, have lived by the ocean my entire life, and have never learned to swim underwater without holding my nose sad

I'm REALLY looking forward to trying some underwater shoots when the weather warms up, but I have NO idea how to get around this major problem.
Any advice?

Jan 30 12 02:54 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38614

Portland, Oregon, US

KittyGlitter wrote:
I'm almost 22 years old, have lived by the ocean my entire life, and have never learned to swim underwater without holding my nose sad

I'm REALLY looking forward to trying some underwater shoots when the weather warms up, but I have NO idea how to get around this major problem.
Any advice?

Nose plugs?

Jan 30 12 02:55 pm Link

Model

Kitty gLitter

Posts: 29

Boston, Massachusetts, US

I've seen the clamp things that go on top of your nose, but is there a less noticeable option?

Jan 30 12 02:59 pm Link

Photographer

Leonard Gee Photography

Posts: 16427

Sacramento, California, US

KittyGlitter wrote:
I'm REALLY looking forward to trying some underwater shoots when the weather warms up, but I have NO idea how to get around this major problem.
Any advice?

Have gills grafted on.


Practice in bath tub. Start by VERY SLOWLY, gently blowing out from nose when you submerge. DO NOT empty lungs before surfacing, else you risk inhaling reflex. Continue blowing coming out.

You can also practice the exhaling out of the water. The slowing breathing out (two minutes completely) takes getting use to before you can do it without much thought. Breath control.

Once you get use to that, then just hold it.

Jan 30 12 03:05 pm Link

Model

Meghan Riley

Posts: 111

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

I'd love to help, but I breathe through my nose underwater naturally. I'm sure you could get a very small nose plug and cover it with something that could be incorporated into a shoot.

Jan 30 12 04:11 pm Link

Photographer

Vector One Photography

Posts: 2779

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

Take a swimming class or the beginning of a basic scuba course.  It's not very hard but it is mind over matter.  Remember, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Well, that and drowning.

Jan 30 12 04:16 pm Link

Photographer

Luminos

Posts: 6057

Columbia, Maryland, US

KittyGlitter wrote:
I'm almost 22 years old, have lived by the ocean my entire life, and have never learned to swim underwater without holding my nose sad

I'm REALLY looking forward to trying some underwater shoots when the weather warms up, but I have NO idea how to get around this major problem.
Any advice?

Well, I've taught swimming, snorkeling, and diving for about 40 years now.  The best hope you have is to find a good instructor and just train, then practice.

There are "exercises" (i.e. practices) you can follow that will get you more comfortable underwater, and help you deal with the fear of water up your nose - and may in fact make you comfortable snorting water up the nose for real.

Jan 30 12 04:17 pm Link

Model

Carson B

Posts: 141

Oxnard, California, US

Meghan Hale wrote:
I'd love to help, but I breathe through my nose underwater naturally. I'm sure you could get a very small nose plug and cover it with something that could be incorporated into a shoot.

You breathe underwater 0.o
are you a fish or magic?

Anywho I also vote the bathtub thing

Jan 30 12 07:47 pm Link

Model

Kitty gLitter

Posts: 29

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Thank you all for the advice... Granted I don't drown practicing trying out the bathtub idea, without a doubt this is a skill I could clearly use, modeling or not haha.
Definitely a mind over matter issue. I don't know why I never was able to "get" it, it seems to come as naturally as breathing to most people.

Jan 30 12 10:26 pm Link

Model

Kitty gLitter

Posts: 29

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Wellll, maybe I could just get a nose plug and a retro bathing cap and try to do a campy, pin up kind of thing with it...
If that wasn't the lazy way out.
Probably about time to face that fear lol

Jan 30 12 10:39 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38614

Portland, Oregon, US

KittyGlitter wrote:
Wellll, maybe I could just get a nose plug and a retro bathing cap and try to do a campy, pin up kind of thing with it...
If that wasn't the lazy way out.
Probably about time to face that fear lol

If it is such a lazy way, why do synchronized swimmers wear them?

Flesh colored nose clip, call it good.  Should be easily retouched.

Jan 30 12 10:46 pm Link

Model

Elsa Bleda

Posts: 2

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

oh good luck(:

Apr 05 12 10:16 am Link

Photographer

davejulianphotography

Posts: 367

Charlotte, North Carolina, US

try pressing the back of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  that blocks the air passage that goes to your lungs.

Apr 05 12 10:49 am Link

guide forum

Model

Anna Adrielle

Posts: 18763

Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

breath out to your nose, but very very softly. it will create a wall of air in your nose, but not so much that you see bubbles

another way is to simply let water in your nose, and when you are above water let it run out again. Compare it to letting water run in your mouth: just because it's in your mouth, doesn't mean you're swallowing it, right? it's just there, and you can spit it out again. you can do the same with your nose: let the water get in your nose but stay calm, don't breathe in through your nose and when you are above water again, let it run out

that's just the technical side though... the hard part will be convincing yourself that this is the way to go big_smile. if you've never gone under water without holding your nose, there will be a lot of panicking and awkwardness going on before you get it right.



try practising in a pool instead of the ocean: salt water in your nose is SUCH a bitch

Apr 05 12 10:52 am Link

Model

Deadlynightshade

Posts: 4774

Los Angeles, California, US

DougBPhoto wrote:

Nose plugs?

No! A photographer will laugh in your face if you suggest that to them...

Apr 05 12 03:52 pm Link

Model

Elizabeth Claret

Posts: 56032

Yelm, Washington, US

KittyGlitter wrote:
Thank you all for the advice... Granted I don't drown practicing trying out the bathtub idea, without a doubt this is a skill I could clearly use, modeling or not haha.
Definitely a mind over matter issue. I don't know why I never was able to "get" it, it seems to come as naturally as breathing to most people.

Don't feel bad. I've never been able to do it either, despite several lengthy attempts to practice at it. I just never could get it, and unfortunately am unable to do underwater work because of it. sad

Apr 05 12 03:55 pm Link

Photographer

320 Studio

Posts: 18

Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

as a still active part time diving instructor i would recommend taking a scuba class smile (Padi Open Water diver or equal level). you'll love it and learn loads and moreover have awsome fun with the fishies.

If it's not an option here is how you learn how to solve this mouth to nose dissociation.

equipment needed : a bath, clear calm, ok warmth water area, or a pool. a snorkel and swimming glasses can help.

1) put glasses on so that you can have eyes open, else go eyes closed
2) fix snorkel and put in mouth (can use any sort of tube you hold, could even be a big straw
3) pinch nose
4) place your head underwater whilst still looking above water level (nose in the water)

exercises :
breath gently and snowly, find a relaxed breathing pace

exercise 1:
Repeat 10-20 exhalation cycles (or more if necessary)
- inhale through snorkel - exhale through snorkel

exercice 2:
pinch nose gently so that air can go through, head still out of water
Repeat until it's comfortable, i found that it could take around 2-5mn most of the time
- inhale through snorkel - exhale through nose (blow your nose basically as in a hanky)

exercice 3:
Stop pinching nose, head still out of water
repeat until it's comfortable (should go fast with previous step, your mind is learning
- inhale through snorkel - exhale through nose as you did before

exercice 4:
Repeat exercice 2 and 3 but with eyes in the water (glasses make it easier, you can just look at your feet or any other amazing body feature)
- inhale through snorkel - exhale through nose as you did before

The final Game:
Try playing patterns, inhale through mouth, exhale through mouth a few times then switch inhale through mouth, exhale through nose a few times, switch and try to be irregular to avoid patterns, not 2,2, but maybe 2,1,4,2,3...

you're done and your brain will never forget it, In a bath or a pool where you have foot depth This should not take you more than 20mn to master before the final game... and then it's like riding a bike... practice and have fun. Remember to just believe and trust, and don't get aggravated if it doesn't work in the 1st 3mn.

This technique has never failed me and I have had people do mask removals in 5°C water and stick around for a while with no issue... the dive before, sometimes less than an hour prior to that, they were in your situation smile

good luck

Apr 18 12 08:34 am Link

Model

P I X I E

Posts: 35329

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I had one underwater shoot... And it was a lot harder than I thought. You have to try emptying your lungs from air first, and hold your breath. I couldn't really do it. After less than an hour, my eyes started burning because of the chlorine. sad

Apr 18 12 09:24 am Link

Photographer

Tore

Posts: 13710

Stamford, Connecticut, US

An underwater shoot has been a dream of mine for such a long time. But I don't know how to swim. -_-

Good luck OP. I hope you get to do what you want and successfully!

Apr 18 12 09:35 am Link

Photographer

Drew Smith Photography

Posts: 5210

Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

Learn to swim.

You'll find it very difficult to do anything underwater and look comfortable if you aren't confident in the water.

Apr 18 12 09:42 am Link

Photographer

320 Studio

Posts: 18

Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

air makes you buoyant, as it would a bottle filled with air... it's a question of practicing breath holding... i'd say it's all about freediving, yoga breathing techniques and practice which can be done in non-water environments... everything takes a learning curve smile if it was easy... it wouldn't be interesting finally.

Apr 18 12 12:54 pm Link

Photographer

Wolfstar Studio

Posts: 861

Cross Roads, Texas, US

KittyGlitter wrote:
I've seen the clamp things that go on top of your nose, but is there a less noticeable option?

There's actually a type of in nose plug, but I don't know where to find them. You can also breath out slightly as you're underwater and it will keep the water out. Old diver's trick ;-)

Apr 18 12 06:04 pm Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 3005

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

DougBPhoto wrote:
Nose plugs?

Deadlynightshade wrote:
No! A photographer will laugh in your face if you suggest that to them...

As it happens, I have been shooting underwater for several years and I always offer models both nose plugs and ear plugs, and they are the same thing.  Any hardware store can sell you deformable plugs to go in the ear, but they also work well in the nose.  Moreover, as long as they are inserted properly, they are almost invisible.

Oct 09 12 06:40 am Link

Photographer

Darren Brade

Posts: 2834

London, England, United Kingdom

natural beauties of qld wrote:

As it happens, I have been shooting underwater for several years and I always offer models both nose plugs and ear plugs, and they are the same thing.  Any hardware store can sell you deformable plugs to go in the ear, but they also work well in the nose.  Moreover, as long as they are inserted properly, they are almost invisible.

+1

They are also used as earplugs for motorcyclists so also available anywhere you can buy motorcycle accessories.

Oct 09 12 09:20 am Link

Model

MickCetera

Posts: 276

Chicago, Illinois, US

I thought I researched enough before my first uw shoot but I was unprepared! You want to be as comfortable as possible in the water so you can pose better. So good thing you live by the ocean you need to swim every day! And also practice opening your eyes. Put low quality camera or even a phone in a few plastic bags and try to get a picture of you face for expression practicing before the shoot. And breathing excersizes of COURSE. Good luck :-)

Oct 10 12 01:16 pm Link

Photographer

TallPix

Posts: 222

Miami Springs, Florida, US

check out my port for some underwater shots....

harder to keep your eyes and mouth open underwater.

if you can do that, along with a simple swish of your head ... will yield some great results

Oct 24 12 08:34 pm Link

Photographer

Richard Rix

Posts: 16

San Diego, California, US

Learn to exhale slowly through your nose and understand a little water will get in and don't choke on it. It is called "purging." Practice in a pool before jumping in the ocean.

Oct 24 12 08:43 pm Link

Model

Kammeron

Posts: 77

Fremont, California, US

Nose holding is a reflex action we do.  It certainly does have a use.  It takes a bit to learn to NOT do it.  Don't try it first in the ocean, because that water is moving around and will go up your nose and well it's seems a harsh way to step into it.  I'd try a pool.  shallow end, where you can sit or stand comfortably.  sink your lower face and nose below the waters surface.  So that you nostrils are parallel to the waters surface.  Relax and try holding and releasing your nose.  when you can manage that move on to angling the nostrils without holding the nose.  It's less practice and more just getting use to it.  It may kinda burn but you get use to it.

Chlorine can burn the eyes and start turning them red and bloodshot as early as 30 minutes.  That's not on the model, that's on the pool and the chlorine levels.  Ocean water still burns but not as badly, and doesn't turn the eyes as fast.

When I first started underwater work I use to try to keep water from going up my nose. But it WILL happen unless your nostrils are flat parallel with the water.  But since you will be moving around expect water to go up.  It's not super pleasant, a kind of burning sensation.  My nasal passages compensate by filling with thick mucus thus blocking the water.  (which means at the surface a lot of nose blowing and or runny nose - it comes with water work)

I read about a free diver who intentionally floods his nasal passage with water so he can do deeper dives. I have not mastered that yet. I just let the snot do the work. 

working with water has a lot of things to consider one of which i don't really see dived into here.  Temperature.  It is very very very important.  water zaps heat out of the human body over 25 times faster than air.  If you are going to work in water or put any models in water (lake, river, stream, pool, ocean, etc) you NEED to read up on hypothermia; symptoms, what to do, not to do etc.     

If you are modeling in water and will be more than 50% submerged and the water is lower than 95 degree F you should ask for a way to warm up afterward.  Hot bath ready and waiting, fire, electric blanket, heater.  if the water is lower than 85 degrees demand these things.  if the water is lower than 75 degrees under no circumstances get in the water for the shoot unless these things are ready and waiting for you. 

The colder the water the less times it takes to zap the heat out of the body.  I'm not trying to harp on the hypothermia thing BUT I've come across so many photographer who haven't really thought about it at all, or realized, or etc.  Even a few that blow it off like it's not that cold and bla bla bla.  I have over 7 years experience with posing in water.  I don't know everything but I know more than 98% of the photogs that have put me in water. 
So to the models: if you are going to pose in water educate yourself about hypothermia first, and realize that the photog may not even be thinking about that aspect.  Bring it up before the shoot, bring it up during the shoot as a reminder to both you and the photog that it is a concern to keep in mind. 
To the photogs: you should educate yourself about it if you want to put a person in water, and you need to know all about the symptoms because someone may be hypothermic and NOT realize they are because their brain isn't working right.  At that point it is YOUR responsibility to do something.

Oct 25 12 01:53 pm Link

Photographer

Under H2O

Posts: 528

Houston, Texas, US

Really good advice Kammeron.  I am the 2% :-)

That's why shooting underwater in Texas is so great - summertime pool temps approach 90.

When I shot Fantastic Water Workouts I rotated three models and I was in the pool for up to 8 hrs.  I wore my 5 mil wetsuit and I was still really cold.

HTH
James

Oct 26 12 06:01 pm Link

Photographer

Juhani Vaihkonen

Posts: 1

Salo, Southwest Finland, Finland

natural beauties of qld wrote:

DougBPhoto wrote:
Nose plugs?

As it happens, I have been shooting underwater for several years and I always offer models both nose plugs and ear plugs, and they are the same thing.  Any hardware store can sell you deformable plugs to go in the ear, but they also work well in the nose.  Moreover, as long as they are inserted properly, they are almost invisible.

Thanks you for this tip.

May 03 13 12:08 am Link

Photographer

Rob Photosby

Posts: 3005

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Tore wrote:
An underwater shoot has been a dream of mine for such a long time. But I don't know how to swim. -_-

Just so you know, provided you are not out of your depth in a pool (i.e. you can stand with your feet on the bottom and your mouth above water so you are not in danger of drowning), you don't need to be able to swim to pose well underwater.

May 03 13 07:00 am Link