Tracie Maglosky’s Underwater Engagement Shoot Will Mesmerize You

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All images by Tracie Maglosky. Used with permission.

Wedding and Portrait photographer Tracie Maglosky isn’t only one heck of a creative, but she’s also the first female Olympus Trailblazer. We’ve featured her work before on the site, but this time around she’s outdone herself. Via her Facebook page, she shared a photo from an underwater engagement shoot that she recently finished. The idea had been cooking up in her mind for a while, but the execution and creating the images in her unique vision were quite a challenge.

We talked to Tracie about how she did it.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about the creative inspiration for this shoot. What made you want to do it underwater?

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Tracie: I initially worked with this couple on their engagement session (on land) and they were so open and displayed their intimacy so easily that I knew that there was even more that we could explore and record. In my studio work, I’m constantly trying to connect with a dreamy state in my maternity and beauty sessions with fans and flowing material–everyone in the studio gets a thorough workout making that happen!

I wanted to create the same feeling and experience without the distractions of fans and assistants and give them a truly intimate opportunity with each other. When Olympus came out with the new TG-4 Tough Waterproof camera, it sparked the idea that doing portraiture underwater might be a fascinating new challenge. However, I’m addicted to my EM-1, so I knew I would want the underwater housing for her.

Phoblographer: Lighting and getting the shots that you really want underwater can be very tough to do. So how did you go about doing this shoot? Was it on the spot or was there storyboarding involved? Maybe instructions for the couple?

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Tracie: Since this was my first go at this, I went in with an open mind and some research. I knew what looked good on land and I knew what I wanted the images to feel like. The challenges underwater are entirely different from challenges on land. Like breathing–breathing on land, no biggie. Breathing underwater: bubbles! Bubbles are pretty but not in the wrong place in the image. Similar to strong winds, water can make hair a huge distraction or a beautiful dynamic. Big beautiful dresses make for a gorgeous, dreamy flow but underwater they can become heavy and make it harder to swim. The first instruction for the couple was holding their breath instead of letting air escape the lungs and create lots of air bubbles. The second was going down a little deeper than desired so that the image could be made on the way up, giving hair the opportunity to be pulled back by the water. Thirdly, we had a certified lifeguard just in case. The best piece of advice is that the best images are made close to the surface where the light quality is best from the sun.

Having a couple with an incredible amount of trust in each other is especially important as an exchange body language maybe the only communication underwater.

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Phoblographer: What gear did you use to create these images?

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Tracie: 

OM-D EM-1

12-40mm f/2.8 Pro

7-14mm f/2.8 Pro

Underwater Case for E-M1 PT-EP11

Lens Port PPO-EP01

Port Adapter PAD-EP08

Lens Port PPO-E02

Zoom Gear PPZR-EP04

Antireflective Ring POSR-EP03

Phoblographer: Would you ever do this with another couple? How would you pitch the idea?

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Tracie: Absolutely! Many couples are looking for alternative ways to show the love they share and the personality of their relationships. I can’t help but feel like I’m photographing a scene from The Little Mermaid, and believe me, every girl at some point wishes she was a mermaid! While this style of shoot wouldn’t be perfect for every couple, those who are comfortable in the water and love a little adventure would be more than eager to participate. I would market this as an option to a traditional Mr. & Mrs. Session and or an alternate option to an engagement session where you could use any different color of fabric.

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