An Interview with Professional Underwater Fashion Photographer Cal Mero

Under water Fashion Shot by Cal Mero

Underwater Fashion Shot by Cal Mero

 

From looking at the radiating photographs taken by Cal Mero, its hard to believe this underwater fashion photographer when he says his first 10,000 photographs were “terrible”. Mero first became interested in the art after he began to pursue the sport of scuba diving in his hometown of Melbourne, bringing with him an underwater camera and shooting pictures of small crabs and fish. Though his photographs now look stunning, Mero’s talent did not come without practice. He first had to master the skill of diving to avoid mistakes such as kicking up the ocean bottom or disturbing the shots in other ways, and once he had mastered this, “then came the photography”.


 

Though much of his talent comes from endless hours of practice and experimentation, Mero used resources such as other photographers, books, and especially the internet to teach himself the tricks of the trade. One of his first learning experiences came when, after walking into a dive shop with a flooded camera, he was directed to a man lounging in the room and was told “that man knows everything about those cameras”. The man was fellow photographer, David Bryant, and one of the first of many “teachers” Mero encountered. These other teachers include the internet, for one, where he recommends great resources such as www.divephotoguide.com as well as www.wetpixel.com .

Mero’s career as an underwater fashion photographer picked up from there, asking friends to pose as models and becoming inspired by the works of others, such as the jaw dropping work David Dubilet, the creativity of David LaChappelle and of course the dedication of Ansel Adams. He continued to work with mentors and other photographers, learning through discussion and critiquing his own work. Then, in 2008, Mero was published for the first time in a magazine called Scuba Diving AustralAsia. Quite successful, he has since shot six covers and his images have been reproduced in print over three million times!

With years of experience now behind him, Cal Mero is a dedicated professional with a range of techniques and equipment. He admits he continues to improve his ability to use natural lighting, now illuminating his photographs with two strobe lights and shooting with a Nikon D90, and occasionally a D80. Relying heavily on his lens, Mero chose to stick with a Tokina 10-17 mm as the huge field of view allows him to get closer to his subject, decreasing the amount of space and water between them. Whether shooting models or coral reefs, he suggests the same advice: “Basically, I shoot models like I would shoot a reef: get close and use lots of light”.

The beauty of Mero’s work did not come of its own and as final words of wisdom, he advises anyone wanting to begin underwater photography to “Practice, practice, practice. You need to be incredibly familiar with your gear and able to adjust and change all your settings just by touch and feel alone”.

Keep an eye out for future articles on Mero’s techniques and gear recommendations.

Cal can be reached at calmero.com.au
He is also the editor of underwaterfashion.org a community website dedicated to show casing great underwater fashion.

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