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I had wanted to try my hand at taking photos in the shower for a long time and finally got the chance to do so last summer. As such, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my take-a-ways in case others wanted to do the same. Taking a good shower shot can be difficult. Not only are you usually in a small space with bad lighting but you also have to worry about water getting everywhere too, including on your camera.
Watch Your Settings
1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 2000
When it comes to your settings you will most likely be shooting in an area of low light. Especially if you are using your own shower. Most bathrooms and showers weren’t designed with photography in mind after all. Considering this limitation, you will need to be mindful of your settings. You can see in the photo I took above that my ISO is high even with a light directly overhead. Since we are talking about settings, if you plan on slowing down the shutter speed in order to smooth out the water remember to bring a tripod. Likewise if you want to freeze the water in your shot you will need to use a flash in combination with a fast shutter speed.
Water. Water Everywhere!
It’s a shower; which means water becomes an unavoidable part of the environment.. So the question becomes, how do you manage it while using an expensive camera? The best way is to use a fully weather sealed camera and lens. If you don’t have one at your disposal you can get a waterproof camera cover, such as this one from Peak Design, if you are concerned with ruining your equipment. As an alternative you might use your cellphone instead. Many modern cell phones are waterproof to the extent that a little water from the shower shouldn’t damage it. Just double check the features on your model to be sure that it is one of them before you go that route.
Is it Getting Steamy in Here?
Unless you plan on using freezing cold water, which I do not advise for your models sake, you are going to have to deal with steam building up in the room. A little bit of steam isn’t a bad thing as it can help add to the atmosphere in the photo. If, however, you don’t want that for your shoot you have a few things that you can do to lessen this issue. One, run the fan with the bathroom door open. Two, take a break from time to time and let the steam clear out. Finally, if your model is comfortable with it, have her/him alternate the water temperature to allow for comfortable working conditions while reducing the amount of steam that builds up.
Take it Outside
No one said you can only take shower shots indoors. If you have access to one, an outdoor shower can make your life a lot easier. Not only can you back away and use a longer focal length to help keep your camera dry but, depending on the weather, you can get much better lighting too. You won’t have to worry about steam building up in the space either if you are aiming for nice, crisp images.
A classic shower shot is made with the glass shower door/wall covered in water with your model on the other side. If you don’t have one in your shower and aren’t able to go somewhere that does have one, why not fake it. You can buy a sheet of large plexiglass to achieve the same look. Misty Moss has a great video on the subject that you can watch below.
While there is more to deal with in regards to pulling off a good shower shoot vs say a regular boudoir shoot, it can be done. Especially if you know what you are getting into ahead of time and you are properly prepared.