Iaorana! My name is Rava. Nice to meet you! I’ll be blogging this year to share with you the tips of the trade I’ve learned as an underwater and lifestyle model. I was introduced to MODL Behavior via two good friends who you may know: Mudra and Meg. I met Meg on the runway of Honolulu Fashion week whilst preparing for shows and Mudra during a campaign shoot for the clothing brand, Hinano. Both girls enthusiastically shared with me about their work helping up and coming models better prepare themselves for the glamorous yet spending world of modeling. So when I was asked if I wanted to contribute to MODL Behavior I was happy and honored to say yes! For the next 12 months you can find me here and read up on what my journey as a model has taught me!
My first taste of underwater modeling was during a spontaneous shoot with a friend who wanted to practice using his underwater housing in the waves at Pipeline. The shots came out grainy but from those first images came a multitude of inquiries that allowed me to continue doing what I love. Since that first session in 2013 I’ve been fortunate to work with some great swimwear and clothing brands, Travel Channel, and even Disney. I’ve posed with wild animals, in stormy surf, in gowns, and in the nude, and along the way I’ve acquired a repertoire of advice for you if modeling underwater is something you want to take on.
1. The first thing you need to remember is to relax.
This may be difficult to do when you’re dying for air, afraid to drown, or dodging sharks but in the end, relaxing will make the best image. By relaxing you’ll not only be able to hold your breath longer because your muscles will consume less oxygen but marine life will also be more inclined to approach and interact with you, not to mention you’ll be more photogenic.
2. My second piece of advice is to move slowly.
Because it isn’t just air between you and the camera (it’s bubbles or fish or floating particles etc.) most cameras and photographers will have a hard time getting the focus just right. If you move too quickly you could risk wasting your energy on a blurry picture. Move slowly and give the camera time to find you. In addition, this will allow you to make the moments in between poses usable.
3. Blow out your air as soon as you submerge yourself.
Sometimes the photographer wants bubbles in the shot. In that case, don’t listen to me. But most of the time a photographer will want a clean crisp image with no obstructions between you and the lens. If you keep your air in you’ll have a tendency to let it out while you pose which could ruin the shot. So get rid of it from the get-go then go for the poses.
The other important aspect of letting your air out is that it will decrease your buoyancy and prevent you from floating back up to the surface which will also help you conserve energy. One of my most frequently asked questions is how I am able to sink and sit on the ground in my photos. The answer is: I empty my lungs as much as I can by blowing out all of my air.
4. Lastly, be conscious of your limbs.
Swimming is natural when you’re in the water but be careful of what your arms, legs, fingers, and toes look like. It’s easy to look awkward when you’re flailing in a waves or fighting against a current. When in doubt extend them and then bend your legs or curl your toes etc. when that’s what the shot calls for. Remain aware of your entire body and pose with intention.
Good luck in your endeavors! Let me know how your underwater shoot goes!