By Barbara Corbellini Duarte
Beneath the water’s surface, the bride-to-be’s pink gown flowed around her as she posed for engagement photos.
She let her lengthy tulle skirt and her long dark hair float as the groom-to-be pulled her in for an underwater kiss.
Photographer Victoria Machin, also underwater, snapped rapid shots on a recent afternoon before the couple ran out of breath and rose to the surface laughing.
“Oh, wow! She turned into a mermaid!” Machin exclaimed, perusing the photos.
Machin is among the photographers submerging their cameras and their clients into the ocean or a pool for shoots commemorating all occasions, from engagement and pregnancy to quinceaneras and Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. They say the region’s fascination with water, and its weather, make underwater photography perfect for South Florida.
“Down here there’s such a water culture, with the sun, pools, and everything. There’s so many people into water that the market is really nice,” said photographer Adam Opris, of Fort Lauderdale.
Opris grew up swimming, snorkeling and surfing in South Florida. He said he often uses humor to make his clients comfortable in the water.
“I have to make them my best friends in five minutes,” said Opris, who has taken clients to the reefs of Key Largo. “If a client trusts you, and you have that friendship laugh, you’re more inclined to be yourself. People laugh real laughs, they smile real smiles.”
Boynton Beach husband-and-wife Rich Centauro and Thais Galliani modeled for Opris in 2012. He took the then-engaged couple out on a boat for an underwater shoot in Boca Raton a few days after Hurricane Sandy had passed by the coast. The waves forced them to turn around, and they ended up shooting in a pool.
The couple remembers the water being cold. “In a lot of the photos, we have goose bumps,” Centauro said.