Any natural body of water, such as a lake, river, or the ocean is classed as open water. It’s basically open to all the elements and is a reasonably hard environment to control. You’ll encounter currents, varying water quality, and of course you’re subject to whatever weather comes at you. For these reasons, shooting underwater portraits in open water can be very difficult and the results can be quite disheartening. But when all the elements come together, you can also make some amazing work that justifies all the effort—plus you can get some stunning underwater landscape!
settings: f6.3 @ 1/160 iso 50
A swimming pool is a great example of closed water as it is highly controllable. You’re not subject to currents in the same way as open water, and you can tweak the chemical levels to make sure the water clarity is top-notch. If it’s an outdoor pool, you might still be at the mercy of the weather, but at least you have a nice stable environment to create your images. This means you can control the lighting as well as the look of the pool, just like you would do in a dry studio, but it is just that: an empty studio space for you to create in.
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