Header photo: Image by photographer Lichtfang

The PurplePort community has such a wide variety of talented creatives with their own areas of specialisation. We absolutely love showing off everyone's unique approaches to photography and modelling!

In this featured photographer interview, we talked with German photographer Christian Zink (a.k.a Lichtfang) about his work and his love for underwater photography.

Image by photographer Lichtfang

Tell us a little about your background Lichtfang. Who are you, and where are you from?

I live in Germany and take pictures underwater. My speciality is underwater photos of women. Whereby also, every now and then, a man falls into the water.

Mostly I photograph pregnant women. There are so many inquiries. I am always fully booked. Often wedding couples come to me. The bride is always afraid that I will ruin the dress. But it always stays whole, gets wet and clean. Nothing more.

Every now and then, I also have women who want to be a mermaid or want fine art nude photos for their husbands.

Image by photographer Lichtfang

What led to you having a career in photography? Do you remember the first experience that made you want to explore life behind a camera?

A friend dragged me to a meeting of photographers. There was a model. Almost all photographers were professional photographers with expensive cameras. I only had a 150 € camera.

In the evening, I posted 3 pictures in the local photo group, and everyone was thrilled. Another model discovered my many fish photos and wanted me to take them underwater. I did not understand at first why ...

You're a rather unique type of photographer. What inspired you to specialise in underwater photography?

Thank you for the compliment. Normally you are limited to 1 level. I am not. You can make people float. Completely new possibilities! I also love the reflections.
I often watch ballet. I also like to look at pictures of old masters. You learn a lot.

What's the best thing about doing the work that you do?

Gratitude. Everyone thinks they can't do it. If one looks at other UW photos, one notices that the faces are not relaxed. The lightness in the picture is missing.

I have found a way that the people in my pictures are very relaxed. The question of how to do this systematically, that people trust each other and move in the water, is much more important than the questions about camera and equipment.

Many photographers ask me about the equipment. Do you ask a cook about the pot when it tastes good?

What do you look for in a model, and how would you select one for one of your photoshoots?

That depends. In the pool, everyone can take such photos. But also here you have to think about security. A swimming pool blackout can happen also in 1,50 m. I have already seen that.

If I work in the sea, then the model must be an experienced diver. There no mistakes may happen. Everything is double. Everything is checked, and there is a defined procedure for every problem. Otherwise, you have a dead model. That must never happen.

The most important thing for me is the face. You can rarely correct that in Photoshop. It must have charisma. Also, the graceful movements of the hands are important. Everything else can be practised.

Tell us a little about your workshops, how often do you run them?

Most of the time, I have single coachings. Wedding photographers often come to me. The combination of wedding + UW baby belly is ingenious. You have many customers who appreciate pictures and don't ask for the price.

I only give one workshop per year. There you learn everything about photography in the pool, shallow sea and deep sea. Anyone can participate. Of the more than 10 shootings, only 3 are deep. If you don't have a diving license, you will get a replacement photo shooting for 3 deep shoots.

It is always asked for the equipment. The equipment in the pool does not have to be of high quality. One can make such pictures with less than 1000 €. Much more interesting are these questions:

  • How do you prepare customers for the shooting so that they trust and are relaxed?
  • How do you make customers look good, even if their nose is flooded with water?
  • What do you do so that the model's skin doesn't look like a corpse underwater?

Every participant can take professional UW model photos after the 5 days. The pictures from the workshop cover the complete portfolio. I open up my whole workflow and explain how to find a pool and how I do marketing.

How has PurplePort helped you?

Very! I found such a model for Workshop 2019. She is English and perfect in the water. Thank you!

Do you have any funny stories from any of your photoshoots?

The shootings with us are always very funny. They laugh a lot. A good mood is a prerequisite for trust. Without trust many photos are not possible at all.

I had a wedding couple underwater. He should kiss her. She was down and with her nose up. There was something unpleasant and the pictures were not immediately perfect. Then the man said: He is down and shows her the times ... I have never seen anyone so quickly emerge. She laughed herself broken and we were able to take the photo after 3 minutes. The man then had huge respect for his wife. She endured the water in the nose. (I think that women are harder)

Thank you to Lichtfang for taking the time to answer our questions! If you'd love to know more about Lichtfang's workshops, check out his 2019 Bali workshop video below, and here's a link to his 2020 workshop.

We hope you all enjoyed this interview. Let us know with a love or in the comment section below, and don't forget to share this interview with your fellow creatives!

You can find more of Lichtfang's work here:

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