on October 13, 2018

Interview with underwater photographer Saskia

Undoubtedly you have all seen the gorgeous underwater shots that have been popping up everywhere on our website and social with our Wild as the Ocean brush set. Behind this shoot is upcoming and super talented underwater photographer Saskia Smith.

As this was such a unique shoot and we love giving you peeks behind the curtain, we decided to sit down with Saskia to ask her all things water, cameras and how she made our brushes look lit AF!

Hi Saskia! We loved this shoot so much and want to know everything about it! But lets start at the beginning, can you tell us what inspired you to become a photographer in the first place?

When I was younger I really struggled to find something I was good at, I tried a lot of sports, musical and art related clubs all which I loved doing but never felt I could really pursue it. One summer I signed up to a 3 day photography course with my little compact camera my family bought me as a birthday present, I was so excited and amazed how much a camera could do, which is why I wanted to continue to take lots of exciting images. After starting college I was finally able to study photography, this really set my path for wanting to become a photographer.

Obviously, there are a lot of photographers out there, but you decided to specialise in underwater photography. Can you tell us how that came about?

My mum works as a swimming teacher and she influenced me to get my qualifications when I was 16 as it was a great job to have whilst studying. From working in the water and studying photography at school I was always so eager to try new ideas and for people to look at my work and say wow, how did you do that?

I managed to find a little underwater camera from kodak and began experimenting after I finished work in the pool. Realising the endless possibilities of the water I continued to experiment.

We can imagine that shooting underwater brings with it a whole lot of elements you do not need to consider when shooting on land. What are the biggest challenges for you as a photographer?

underwater photographyThe main challenge I come across, sounds obvious but holding my breath; it may seem easy to just say hold your breath for a couple of seconds but to do that and try and get the perfect shot can be very physically tiring, however its so worth it!

There are lots of other challenges I often come across when shooting underwater but it adds to all the fun and interesting problem solving!Another problem I often have is floating, not just myself but the models, props and costumes all float a lot and can make some amusing shots. I often get around this issue with using diving weights strapped to various elements, but it can be a battle.

What kind of equipment do you need to shoot underwater? And for the photography geeks out there, what camera did you use in this shoot?

Its very important to have very secure underwater equipment as cameras are expensive and do not agree with water unfortunately.

You can start with lots of smaller cameras such as GoPros or Kodak (which is what I used). After using these I progressed to underwater housing, this is a case that goes around your specific camera and protects it from any water, this is the most vital bit of equipment for shooting underwater.

As well as a camera, photography relies on lighting; there a lots of options for lighting as you can use continuous ones that stay above water or you can have water proof ones, depends on the look your going for.

I use a Nikon D810, Nauticam underwater housing and Ikelite underwater strobes.

Are there any other considerations you take into account when choosing your model, compared to if you would shoot out of the water?

Underwater photographyWhen choosing a model I have to really consider their confidence in swimming, as I often ask my models to pose in the deeper area of the pool which can be very tiring quickly. Although this is a big factor is it not always necessary as its about feeling confident in water and being comfortable to go under and pose. It defiantly helps if a model has some dancing or acting background as they can relax and let their bodies create interesting shapes or expressions.

Where do you look for inspiration ahead of a shoot?

I love Pinterest! I could spend hours looking for lots of inspiration, not just photography but colour schemes or costumes.

Its always good to look at other photography in all various styles for inspiration but I try and look further, watching films or reading stories that spark ideas for me. Its not all about something visual but could be a song or feeling that inspires me.

Do you have any tips for other upcoming photographers? Or what is the best advice you ever got from another photographer? 

Personally I feel the best advice I could give is shoot and practise loads, I used to be very nervous about using manual mode on my camera and it just takes some time and practising to feel comfortable and confident with a camera. I would also say try not to compare your work with others as everyone is different, try make your work unique by using your own thoughts and feelings.

How was it for you working with Loella and our brushes?

I loved working with Loella! Amazing people to work with, they took on board all my ideas and helped me create a range of images I’m really proud of. The brushes are also BEAUTIFUL! the whole design of the brushes and range of them is fantastic! They were great to use with the makeup for the shoot as well as using underwater, everyone part of the shoot agreed they were the softest brushes, couldn't stop feeling them!

Finally, where can people find you if they want to admire more of your work?

My instagram is @saskia_smith_

My Website is 

Thank you so much to Saskia and the team for capturing the Wild as the Ocean brushes in their natural habitat. Oh and... the brushes were soaked in water for editorial purposes, not recommended to do this with your own Loella brushes unless you aspire to become an underwater photographer as well:)

xoxo Loella team

Underwater photography