Since their first wedding photography inquiry, Jenny mentioned that she and her fiance Matt are scuba divers interested in an underwater photoshoot for their engagement portraits. As a fellow diver and lover of adventure photo sessions, I said YES right away. After asking more about their vision, I talked more about safe and accessible options for their portraits, and we were a go!
I have this tradition of not blogging engagement photos until the wedding day. But, having done these photos so many months ago, I've been dying to share them. So, luckily, the day has arrived, and here they are!
Underwater Portrait Photography Sessions in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has water everywhere, but that doesn't mean any water location is appropriate for underwater photos.
Pools are the safest bet used by most underwater photographers worldwide, but I don't own a pool (yet)! In the past, some clients have talked to their hotel for permission to use the pool, and we schedule an early morning underwater session when the pools are empty.
I like that option as a plan A, but I also have a deep-rooted love for nature photography, which moves me to other, natural alternatives. The ocean is unpredictable and can get dangerous with tides or other weather events. Rivers are prone to flash floods, and lakes are often murky and slimy. Luckily, we have secret freshwater springs all over the north coast of Puerto Rico, which have clear waters and are surrounded by beautiful, tropical nature.
I do not take any clients to this kind of location, as it requires hikes and sometimes even climbing in remote areas. However, when the client is a good match for the adventure, it's totally worth it! Such was the case for Jenny & Matt's underwater couple photos.
Requirements for Booking an Underwater Photoshoot
As I mentioned earlier, an underwater photo session is not for everyone. Swimming is a requirement for an underwater photo session, but you also need to feel comfortable taking a plunge and holding your breath without panicking. You will not drown, as these photoshoots happen on shallow waters, but some clients will find a hard time letting go of that urge to go up or hold their nose.
Even with seasoned divers Jenny and Matt, it took us about 30 minutes to feel at ease going down, posing for a few seconds, and then going back up. Opposite to out-in-the-surface photoshoots, bright, sunny days are the best for this kind of session, as we need both the light and the heat from the sun's rays to keep us warm.
Adventure Engagement Session at a Secret Spring in Puerto Rico
We started our session out of the water to get some safe shots before "ruining" the hair and outfits. The day began as bright and sunny, and the natural setting was perfect, even if we didn't get any good photos beneath the surface. Once Jenny and Matt felt at ease with the photography part of the session, we started making our way into the fresh spring water for the underwater part.
Halfway through our underwater photos, the day got a bit cloudy, and the waters got cold quickly, so we moved out for a while to reheat our bodies. Then, before the sunset, we had a second round of underwater photos. We had so much fun doing this set, and I'm so grateful for my lovely clients, who are so trusting and let me take them into random bodies of water in the middle of the jungle.
Ready for their wedding day!
A final comment on visiting the springs and other natural destinations in Puerto Rico
Please be mindful and respectful of our natural resources. Our natural ecosystem is very sensitive and it's our duty to protect it.
Keep vehicles on designated roads, as many natural locations are nesting locations for endemic and protected species, and are menaced every year by off-road excursions. Clean up after yourself, and bring a bag to pickup any trash you find during your visit.
Finally, leave the location just as you found it. Don't take any vegetation or creatures with you. They'd rather stay home.