How the Magic Happens | Underwater Conceptual Photography

A week ago I was part of a portfolio walk through (a public event filled with photographers showing off their work to…you guessed it…the public). I think what people found the most fascinating about my work, is the story of how I created it. Particularly the girl on the swing. So I figured I’d start there.:)For all of you non-believers (some people were skeptical about whether it really was shot underwater…and as much as I appreciate the fact that some people think I’m that good at Photoshop, I’m a much better photographer than editor), here we go.

I love contradictions. That’s why you see so much fire and light in my underwater work (well, that and the fact that photographers are like moths: constantly chasing the light). I think underwater photography is one giant contradiction. The final photo is graceful, effortless and dreamy, but the making of is anything but. It’s a constant struggle to get everything moving in the right direction at the right time without breathing, while still looking like you’re in your element. My models definitely have the short end of the stick. But when it all comes together, well that’s when the real magic happens.

underwater conceptual photography jenn bischof photographer san diego

This was about 35+ shots before the final shot was made. We were still finessing the directionality and flow of, well, everything (obviously). As you can see, I married one of the most incredible men on the planet. He gets sucked into almost everyone of my shoots as my assistant because he is fluent in Jenn (a language that is more mind reading than actual articulation).

So, let me break down the photo for you. Top left, out of camera, I used one of my sand bags (yes, I use a lot of sand bags when shooting underwater) to pin down the rope poolside. Plopped my fabulous model on the swing, which had another rope tied to the bottom of the swing. We’d start her at one end of the pool, sink her, and then my husband would grab onto the rope tied to the bottom of the swing and tow her across the pool, as if she were swinging (Mothers, if your husband complains about having to take the kids to the park again and push them on the swings, have him do this one time…he’ll never complain again). Each pass we’d learn something new and refine our approach. All the hard work created this:

underwater fashion photographer jenn bischof underwater photography

That’s the super, duper condensed version. That’s how I like my blog posts: straight and to the point.;) Feel free to leave your questions below.:)


Happy creating!



Jennifer Bischof -

P.S. That reflection in the upper right hand corner is my husband’s reflection. I just didn’t have the heart to edit him out. He did all the heavy lifting. Of course, for the final print, I did…but he definitely deserves to be present in the online version. :)

Ashley Daniell -

This is just crazy good. I don’t even know where to begin! Amaze-balls! I think you should do a before and after photo like this for all of your work!

Lindsay Kaye Arbach -


Chelsea Patricia -

Dang, dang, dang, dang!

Melanie Maczuga -

I’m speachless, this is soo beautiful!

Alyssa Campbell -

Love the breakdown! It’s so creative how you got this to look! I love the juxtaposition of how fluid and graceful underwater photos look when in reality they are extremely difficult to create. Lovely result :) I’d love to see more of these!

Destiny Nicole Towery -

This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing♡

Jocelyn N Buford Balignot -

Thank you so much for sharing! Absolutely beautiful! And you are so blessed to have found someone who speaks your native “Jenn” and is willing to help you achieve your vision :)

Katrina Miller -

You are amazing. Period.

Reece Miller -

Love the behind the scene! You’re awesome Jenn :)

Miriam Cortez -

AmAzInG work! You are so good at what you do!

Stephen Vosloo -

this is so many levels of awesome Jen!

Debi Buck -


Christmas Giveaway » underwater fashion photographer | jenn bischof | san diego photographer -

[…] the wall. Their perfect. My husband seriously came through this time (and you all saw him in the behind the scenes post, what can I say, I married well). It is hands down the number one thing people ask me about (when […]

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