Underwater Fashion and Mermaid Photo Shoots Getting Popular in South Florida

When you need to up your Instagram game, there's one awesome way to do it: "underwater fashion," which is getting super popular — especially in the warm waters of South Florida. 

According to photographer Kim Porter of Fort Lauderdale, clients are lining up not just for shoots in which they wear mermaid costumes, but also wearing street clothes like dresses and suits. With free-flowing hair and sunbeams shining through blue-green waters, the pics look killer and are super fun to shoot. 

Photographers are reaching new heights, or in this case, depths, thanks to technological advances in camera equipment. Many photographers go underwater and never go back to shooting in a studio because of the excitement and the interesting shots — much better than a regular portrait against a white wall in a studio.

New Times tagged along on a recent shoot with Porter, who started her career as a diver, to get the skinny on her modus operandi. Not only did she have heavily tattooed models swimming in pools with dresses and heels, but mermaids as well! She has a set of mermaid tails that her clients can wear for shoots. 

New Times: How long have you been diving, and doing underwater photography?
Kim Porter: I have been diving since 2001 and have well over 1,000 dives. I have been doing underwater photography since 2009, and underwater fashion for two years, since I took a photography class with Craig Dietrich. 

What was your first inspiration to do underwater fashion?
I saw photos on social media such as Facebook, Google+, and Instagram, and found them to be very unique, and beautiful.

How popular is underwater fashion photography?
Over the last couple of years, underwater fashion has become extremely popular on photography’s social media and electronic magazines that have to do with water. Underwater portraits are a unique way to capture people and ideas. One doesn’t need to be a supermodel - only willing to have fun. Some of my best photos are kids simply having fun underwater in a pool.  

How did your first underwater fashion shoot go?
It was in the ocean, and the visibility was bad. The models would not take off their masks. I could not get the models down to the bottom. It was a mess but we had a blast. Those photos can be seen here. 

What kind of camera equipment are you currently using?
Camera: Sony NEX 5N; Housing: Nauticam; Lighting system: Sea & Sea Ys d1. 

How did you meet the four models we're working with today?
Most of my models are divers I know from the diving community. I normally require them to be a scuba diver or free-diver prior to taking them out in the ocean. Other non-diver models stay in the pool. Today, I had one free-diver, Nicole; one hardcore diver and hunter, Isabel; one daughter of a friend of mine, Breanna; one mermaid from the mermaid community, Amber Mae.

Do you have any role-models or photographers you admire?
Yes, my instructor and talented underwater photographer Craig Dietrich. I also admire the fashion work of Ken Kiefer and the mermaid work of Chris Crumley.

What is your dream location and fashion setup for underwater photography?
Definitely in the Bahamas, on a wreck, surrounded by sharks. 

Would you have your mermaids swimming with the sharks in these photos? Or wild dolphins? 
I would do fashion with the sharks; my main goal is to keep my models safe, and mermaids with dolphins.

For more information, visit the Facebook page for A Mermaid's Tale Underwater Photography, or call 754- 367-5177.
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