You probably know that everything is different and difficult under the water. But if it’s your first underwater pole shoot, there are still lots of tricks and hacks you may not be not aware of (yet). It’s like doing your first upside down pole move, not knowing where is your left leg is or what your right hand is doing. Sound familiar? It’s like this, but even more disorienting!
26 valuable tips before you take your first underwater pole dance photoshoot
Although the right photographer will give you all the instructions, taking the plunge and staying under the water is not as easy as you might think. So that’s why we want you to prepare yourself very well, and these tips ARE the best because we prepared them with help from a pole dancer who already has experience with underwater pole dance photoshoot.
As you’ll see, there’s much more stress on your preparation than on the actual photo shooting. But that’s the key! So read on…
PREPARING YOURSELF BEFORE THE PHOTOSHOOT
- Safty first! Underwater photo shooting is not easy; it takes a lot of energy and confidence. So the preparation is the most important thing. Do have that in mind!
- Choosing the right photographer. Choosing the right photographer. It takes a lot of effort to do great modeling and great photos, so stick to a professional who has lots of experience with shooting. He or she will guide you through the process and give you all the instructions you’ll need. Plus, it will be safer for you!
- Breath-hold techniques. Practice breathing techniques. There’s a lot of exercises on the web and YT. There are generally two “schools” of thought regarding breath holds. One of them encourages you to exhale, relax, and simply sink to the bottom. The other prefers you to hold your breath and create a relaxed face before you dive down. Both can be effective, so try out both! Stanley prefers the second option. (Just a little health warning: Some videos encourage hyperventilating, but be aware that if you hyperventilate before you dive, you can experience a dangerous phenomenon known as shallow water blackout. This isn’t our recommended method!)
- Training in the pool. If you have a pool available, rehearse everything beforehand. Learn how to sink. Learn how your body floats and sinks, how it moves with your half empty lungs… Swim in the clothes you’ll wear. Swim with your hair styled as you’ll have it. Hair can get in your face, eyes, and mouth, and be a real pain! Practice, practice, practice. And by all means, always have someone that watches over you.
- Invisible nose plugs. These can really help you down there. The photographer sometimes provides these, so make sure to ask before the shoot.
- Face expression. Drowning facial expressions are really something you should def avoid because it’s… well, ugly. So do practice enough diving so that you’ll feel comfortable and your face will be relaxed and calm.
- Plan the moves. You’re practically in a zero gravity environment, so many poses don’t do well in the weightlessness of the pool. Especially moves or tricks that use your body weight to complete the pose. Pole elements such as pole sits and simple holds are very efficient and photogenic under the water. Remember, the pole will likely be moving, so the less you have to rely on the pole, the better! Moves that require a push-pull, such as Cupid, may be more tricky.
- Test the outfit. Check if the fabric or decoration will be damaged or fall apart when in water, or if dye will bleed. Practice movements with your chosen outfit in the water to be safe and comfortable. If necessary, use safety pins to keep sleeves or other parts of the outfit from flapping around.
- Get a good night rest. Well-rested and well-fed the night before is crucial. Although a Friday night party is tempting, it’s not very wise if the photoshoot is on Saturday morning. Bottom line — partying all night long won’t help you out.
CHOOSING YOUR OUTFIT
- Makeup. Obviously, it has to be waterproof. But do test it beforehand, as the same waterproof makeup does not work for every skin type. It depends on your skin’s pH factor, etc. If you hire the right photographer, you will be at ease — he or she will take care for that. But if you’re in charge of makeup, then you have to know that makeup for underwater modeling should be stronger and have more contouring.
- Hairstyle. Hairpins will come in handy to move fringes off your face. Avoid hair sprays because of the film they leave on the water. Wigs are great underwater, especially bright colors, but make sure they are pinned on tightly. Again, testing out your hair beforehand is a great way to see how your chosen style works underwater.
- Wardrobe. You can wear anything you want, but it will help for you to get some inspiration before the final decision. Often the best results are when the outfit resonates with your personality.
- Fabric. Best is light transparent cloth. And everything that floats will look great, such as tassels or fringing. Bright colors, as well as black and white, look amazing under the water. Lighter fabrics (organza, chiffon, mesh, etc.) will take longer to sink, giving you more time to pose with them. The longer the fabric, the better. Brett Stanley suggests at least 5 yards/meters as a start. These kind of photos will be beautiful, but it’s good to practice enough because the length of the fabric can hinder you when moving around.
WHILE UNDER THE WATER
- Visualize the moves and poses. Just before going under the water, check all the poses you have chosen and visualize them.
- Calm your mind. Calm your mind, close your eyes. When the mind is calm and relaxed, the body is not using up all your oxygen. This is very important! Nerves will kill your ability to hold your breath. Use your own relaxation techniques, and remember to follow instructions. If you hired a professional photographer, just follow his/her instructions and trust him/her, and you will be at ease.
- Focus, focus, focus. Whether you choose the method of letting air out or taking a deep breath, remember to focus. Really let your air out if that’s your chosen method. You must be comfortable with whichever route you choose, but envision your goal in your head and either sink or dive down.
- Point your toes! When you sink into the water, begin your mental checklist: toes pointed, face relaxed… Keep the focus on your limbs, fingers, and toes, and elongate your limbs.
- Don’t move fast! Fast moves will only tire you; plus, you’ll look tightened in the photos. So slow, calm moves are the way to go. When you feel yourself needing a breath, slowly swim to the surface, keeping your graceful facial expression. You can get even more shots this way!
- Be patient with yourself. On land, a photoshoot takes about 30 minutes or so, but underwater you’ll have about an hour or two. Rae Marii recommends two-hour shoots for extra time adjusting to the water because it is a very unusual feeling. Maybe you’ll nail the move in the first few minutes, or maybe not. It doesn’t matter. Just be calm and patient with yourself.
- Be mindful of the time. Looking at your photos takes time, looking at your poses takes time, drinking water takes time, putting in eyedrops takes time. If you aren’t nailing a pose, you may need to sacrifice it and move on. You may get some poses the very first time! Once you nail a move and get a photo you like, move on quickly to the next move to get more shots!
AFTER THE SHOOTING
- Recovery. After being in the water for a long time, your body needs time to recover, so take some equipment with you.
- Large towels. If you’re not in a heated pool, you’ll definitely be a little cold, so take off all your wet clothes and wrap yourself in large towels. If you’re in a heated pool, you may not be as cold, but it’s nice to have towels to wrap up in regardless.
- Eye drops. They could be your best friend so do take them with you, regardless of whether or not you’re wearing contact lenses. Be sure to get moisturizing eye drops and not allergy eye drops. Your eyes will need to re-hydrate! You can also buy an eye wash kit to wash your eyes out before you put eye drops in.
- Ringing ears. Maybe you’ll have them, maybe not. But try to get all the excess water out of the ears if possible. You can also purchase eardrops that will dry the water out!
- Snack. Comfort food makes a lot of difference! To me, this is always a chocolate, haha! Or something warm, gooey, fatty and sweet, lol. 😀 But feel free to snack what you like and adore.
- Relax and enjoy… and feel good about yourself because the photos that you took will be amazing!
Do you have any question? Just comment below or better still – read Rae’s underwater experience with Brett Stanley. She will help you a lot!