Turning Failures into Challenges

I did my very first underwater shoot yesterday.
*pause for dramatic effect*

It was SO much fun! I didn’t have anything planned, just wanted to test it, so I got my sister in a dress and got into the swimming pool and I think we were there for about two hours or an hour and a half. I had no expectations, I didn’t know if I’d get anything I could use, I just wanted to try it. And man, was it hard.
I put my Canon 550D in the Dicapac bag; I was too scared of testing the bag on my MarkIII, even though I did a test with some tissue and it came out dry. I don’t know if I’d use my MarkIII in that bag, because I’ll always be scared lol and my 550D isn’t bad for experimenting. Maybe once I figure it out I’ll get proper housing, but we’ll see.
So what was hard about it?
Just.. seeing! I thought, okay I won’t go in deep I won’t even put the whole camera in the water, and I think most of the pictures I took were like that. But I also wanted to try getting a lower angle, in which I failed miserably because I kept floating! Duh. Oh, and I could NOT see anything when I was completely in the water, so I thought hey lemme get goggles, so I did that. Nope, didn’t work. Still couldn’t see.
I also used black fabric as a background, and I thought it was pretty big, until I put in the water and realized it’s nowhere near as wide as I thought it was.

Those are just MY struggles. My sister had a difficult time too, but I have to say she did amazing despite everything. The only dress I had that was bright enough was the red dress I used in Across The Abyss, and that had a lot of “floofs” lol. So it was pretty heavy. She also had a hard time keeping her eyes open, and not blowing out bubbles and also keeping her cheeks normal and not looking like a fish haha.

Out of 700 pictures, I only got around 3 or 4 that I kinda liked. And out of those, I only managed to edit 1, which I’m not very happy with. But I keep reminding myself that it was just a test shoot. I tend to be a little hard on myself when I fail *sad face*

IMG_0002 copy IMG_9547 copy IMG_9580 copy IMG_9645 copy

And the edited image:IMG_0002 resized

So that’s pretty much it. I still need to figure out how to get sharp and less murky images. I started out with the 50mm then went with the 18-55mm.
I have a confession to make: I always feel like I get lucky. For a very long time, when I did things right, or when I achieved something, I always always thought I just got lucky. I remember in university, I had this residential design class, and for some reason my professor praised my work a lot and used me as an example to the other students. I still don’t think my work was the best, it was okay, but.. again, I felt like I got lucky. So when I don’t “get lucky”, I just get disappointed. Like during this shoot.
There are so many things I’m trying to work through, and by talking about them here, I don’t feel like I’m going through them alone. It’s like I’m telling the world “look, this is what’s wrong with me, but I am determined to change that”, you know?
I plan on trying this again some time this week, because now it’s more like a challenge and I wanna do something super awesome. I keep trying to remind myself that failure is not a setback and it only helps me learn and improve.

Last night I was looking at Elena Kalis‘s pictures and I cried a little on the inside. I’m not comparing myself to her of course, there’s absolutely no room for comparison. But I’m just hoping that someday I can take underwater pictures like that. She’s amazing and so inspiring!

2014-2017 Thoughts

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Amani, one sentence in your post struck me: “look, this is what’s WRONG with me, BUT I am determined to change that”. I would like to rephrase that from the perspective that I received your story:
    “look, I challenged myself, I tried something NEW AND it turned out somewhat DIFFERENT from what I imagined it to become. I have learned a valuable lesson from my experience and I will try it again to get the picture I imagined.”
    There is absolutely nothing “wrong” with you, dear! Don’t be so hard on yourself, embrace the experiences and try phrasing them positively. It is challenging at first, but the more you do it conciously, the more the positive phrasing of your thoughts will turn into actual positive thoughts… I very much look forward to your next under water shoot 🙂


  2. P.S.: I did not at all mean to sound patronising! It’s just something I myself try to improve and wanted to share with you! See? Worrying too much about whether people understand me correctly… Also something I try to improve but I still do double check and explain myself until people get annoyed… (I guess this matches your older post about insecurities…)


    • Hi Thea,
      So nice to hear from you again. And don’t worry at all, you did not sound patronising! I appreciate what you said and I love how you rephrased it.
      I will definitely work on phrasing my experiences positively, thank you for pointing it out and thank you for all the support and encouragement! ❤
      Sending you lots of hugs!


  3. woaaaa this is certainly amazing =D and not at all bad for a first try out. I really liked how you described how you went about the the whole experience. Underwater photography sounds really fun and daring to try. I appreciate your boldness 😀

    Now I am no expert at underwater photography but I read the interview of the artist you mentioned ‘ Elena Kalis‘. I read that she uses some sort of color correcting lenses for the under water photo shoots. Maybe you can read about them or try borrowing one for a test shoot before actually getting one. They might help to recluse or get rid of the murky images.

    Also I noticed that the pool you chose has blue and white mosaics, perhaps that’s why you choose the black back drop. I would suggest to use a full blue pool so it gives the feeling of being at sea at depth. maybe you can even change the color of water by editing later on, add sea weeds, falling underwater objects, leaves or other props but I think having a full blue will give more room for creativity than a a black backdrop.

    These are the only tips I could think of. Good luck for the future underwater shoots buddy. Keep practicing as practice makes perfect and there is always room for improvement =D


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