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Sweetwater: Sweet 16 Underwater Photoshoot (Part 1)

Shall We Dance? Esther + Bernie = Classy Wedding by Zorz Studios (86)
Shall We Dance? Esther + Bernie = Classy Wedding
October 20, 2016
Sweet Times: Sweet 16 NYC Photoshoot by Zorz Studios (3)
Sweet Times: Sweet 16 NYC Photoshoot (Part 2)
October 31, 2016
Sweetwater: Sweet 16 Underwater Photoshoot by Zorz Studios (29)

Even after all my creative underwater photoshoots, a collaboration with this Sweet 16 client resulted in something strikingly unprecedented.

Sweet 16 is a remarkable celebration signifying young people’s transition into the adulthood. They solidify their characters and many are eager to introduce themselves to the world, on the actual terms or in a fantasy-like portrayal. It’s a shame that lots of them miss the opportunity to employ professional photography as a means to make such visual introduction. Or, perhaps they don’t get excited enough after seeing generic portraits from some peers. Whatever the reason, I am not often asked about Sweet 16 portraits while I believe that a client’s imagination, playfulness, and excitement peak just around that age, with the adrenaline and fun factors overflowing those of older engagement, wedding, boudoir, or maternity clients… Of course, there is an even younger Mitzvah age group (12 years old) and I also aim to make their portraits cool (check out a side note and samples in a story covering my first photoshoot of my teen daughter and her freind) but four years make a difference in young adults’ imagination and self-expression.

Needless to say how thrilled I was when a special client who brought me all the way to Greece for her maternity photoshoot last year called me about her sister’s Sweet 16. Our epic Greek photo adventures set the ground for continued high artistic expectations so we took on one of the hardest types of artistic portraiture, underwater photography. The fact that her sister is a performer and also used to dance surely found its expression.

Underwater photography is a time-, effort-, and energy-devouring beast. Although my 8-year experience improved and polished the approach since the first underwater photoshoot in 2008, half a day is the minimum it would take, with fairly limited results due to such sessions low effectiveness. Unlike other types of artistic portraiture, I strongly recommend and push for full-day underwater packages which are more likely to allow me utilize all resources and experiment with setups resulting in a variety of themes and feels. Here is a great example. I encouraged myself to use a different setup for the dark portion of the shoot and achieved something different.

The photography adventures for this young lady did not end. Check out the second part of this Sweet 16 portraiture project, shot in a glamorous modeling style on the streets of NYC a few weeks later. As for the celebration itself, the Sweet 16 party is coming next week which I will cover.

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Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov is a creative director and lead photographer of Zorz Studios, Manhattan-based boutique photography studio, offering arousing and daring fashion, commercial, beauty, and wedding photography. Multiple Fearless Photographer™ award winner, named among the top 50 US wedding photographers, top 10 NY wedding photographers, winner of Adobe contests, featured by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle et al, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week photographer, and a distinguished member of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style‘s Platinum List, he is eager to step out of his and willing clients' comfort zone to pursue original artwork with a lasting impression.