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An Epic Underwater Photo Shoot -Tips for Success with Benjamin Von Wong

By Chris Nachtwey on May 27th 2014

To make epic, creative images you need a good vision, plan, and team. Benjamin Von Wong (also know as Von Wong) is great at pulling all those pieces of the puzzle together and never fails to impress. His images are extremely creative and downright mesmerizing. In the video below, Von Wong takes us 25 meters below the ocean to shoot on a shipwreck in Bali (that just sounds epic), and dishes out some valuable information about how important it is to have a good team.





Nikon D90

Nikon 12-24 f/4

Aquatica underwater housing

Natural light


Von Wong states in his blog post that when shooting underwater everything is more complicated. Below are some things to keep in mind.

  • Normal models wouldn’t work unless they’ve had extensive dive training and even then, they wouldn’t have the ability to hold their breath for very long, especially at that depth, so Free Divers were going to be required.
  • Normal clothes couldn’t be rented since the sea water would wreck them, so they had to find a designer willing to part with the clothing that was lent to them.
  • Normal assistants wouldn’t work, specially trained safety divers would be necessary to ensure a smooth photoshoot.
  • Scouting would be complicated – local divers would be necessary to navigate around the wreck and deal with unpredictable changes in the weather and tide.
  • Lighting and gear would be limited – shooting underwater means having to work with what was available: on camera strobes or natural light.



Yet again, Von Wong has created images that are enchanting, mesmerizing, and down right out of this world. Every time I see a new image of his, I’m transported to a different world, and these underwater images are no different. I loved his thoughts about putting together a team, and how being passionate about a project can trump qualifications when organizing the team needed to pull off a project this large.

Vong Wong goes into much more detail about how the shoot came together over on his blog. I highly suggest you take a few minutes and have a look.


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Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jacob Jexmark

    These are so stunning. I love them!

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  2. Frank

    Very cool images. i am a diver too and i know how hard it must be to hold your breath long enough, lights/colors underwater etc.


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