Since starting our Water Babies swimming journey back in March, one of the things that I’ve been looking forward to the most is the underwater photoshoot.
As a bloke who grew up listening to rock music during the 90’s, getting the chance to replicate the cover of Nirvana’s iconic Nevermind album was pretty cool. The only thing that would have made it more exciting is if I was the one being photographed floating naked in the water. Remind me to add that to my bucket list.
Anyway, having reached the end of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of our Water Babies swimming lessons, and having really enjoyed the experience so far, we booked on to one of the underwater photoshoots. This would allow us to do a number of underwater swims – as per the swimming lessons – but have a professional photographer there to hopefully capture some cool photos of out submerged sprog.
So, on the 24th July and armed with all of our swimming paraphernalia, we jumped into the car and drove to a swimming pool in Tiffield, near Towester, in order to do the Water Babies underwater photoshoot. Here’s how we got on:
Photography is an integral element of Chapter 1 of your Water Babies journey forming a perfect element at the end of your first term swimming. Our objective is to achieve one perfect shot of each baby swimming underwater, however, our standard is much higher than just one photo. Babies can have three swims and on each swim can have up to three photographs taken with nine shots overall to choose from.
As your baby grows, they become stronger and kick to the surface making the image more vertical than horizontal. Most parents attend their first shoot at the end of their first ten weeks. Now is the ultimate time to try with a higher number of opportunities to achieve that one amazing image!
With viewing directly after your photo shoot and fantastic highly trained staff to assist, orders can be made there and then, payment taken (instalment plan on request), orders sent to the developer and then sent to you.
On arrival at the leisure centre in Tiffield – a little late may I add due to stupid traffic – the sprog and I were shown to the changing rooms, whilst the missus was allowed poolside. After a speedy change, we emerged less clothed, a little nippier and ready for some splashy fun.
One photoshoot was just finishing, so we watched on for a few minutes before being invited into the water where we were introduced to the Water Babies instructor leading the session and the photographer. It was explained to us that we’d do some warm up exercises to get the little ones used to the water, then there would be three different underwater swims which the photographer would capture on camera.
The warm up was like any other Water Babies class…well apart from the fact that there were only two of us in the session. We sang a bit of “Splish, Splash”, we put the little ones into their side swim positions and wet their heads with “Baby L, Ready, Go”. We then sang “Humpty Dumpty” with the sprogs sat on the side of the pool, then did some “We are swimming on our backs”.
Then it was time for the first underwater photo. We headed over to an area at the corner of the pool which was set up with a blue screen, lights and the scuba diving fella with a camera. I handed the little one to the instructor as I watched on from the side. After a “Baby L, Ready, Go”, the sprog was put under the water and let go of, whilst the cameraman took three successive snaps as she kicked up to the surface.
Having done plenty of underwater swims during the previous 15 or so Water Babies lessons, I wasn’t worried at all about the little one going underwater. It’s just something your baby and you get used to as part of the overall Water Babies experience, although I know a lot of parents worry about this aspect – there’s no reason to though.
After kicking herself to the surface, she was given back to me and we continued with more watery fun and games. There was another two underwater swims – exactly the same as described above – to give the photographer further opportunity to get some awesome snaps.
Following the final underwater photo, the session concluded with “Twinkle Twinkle”. We were then told to get changed, then head to the main hall where we would be able to view the photos from the shoot.
On entering the main hall, we were met by one of the Water Babies’ staff who showed us to one of the six terminals where we could view our photos. I was particularly impressed with how quick this process was. We were shown how to use the touch screen terminal – for instance, to mark which photos we liked and didn’t like, how to view the photos as a slideshow, how to zoom in to the snaps etc – then left to our own devices to browse the photos.
In total, there were nine photos which had been taken of the little one on the underwater photoshoot – all of which were really clear and defined which we were pleasantly surprised about. We worked our way through each photo, marking them as ones we liked, ones which were OK and ones we didn’t like. After 15 minutes or so, we’d managed to get rid of four photos and decided that we wanted the other five.
We then spoke to Jamie – one of the Water Babies’ staff – who talked us through the different options available (more info below), prior to filling in the paperwork and placing our order. We decided to get digital prints of the photos, which we were told would be delivered to us on a branded 1GB USB around eight or so weeks later.
It was about six weeks after the underwater photoshoot that our photos arrived in the post. On the USB, we had both high resolution copies of the photos if we wanted to print them out, as well as low resolution copies for the blog / social media. The five pretty awesome snaps from the photoshoot are below:
The underwater photoshoot is included in the cost of the Water Babies swimming lessons as part of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 (£45 if you want to book on after this), which is a quite cool added extra to the lessons. Obviously you have to pay for photos though and this is where things can get a little pricey, particularly if loads of great photos were taken and you just have to have them all.
As with most photography places, the more you buy, the better deal you get. There were a number of different offers available on the day which cover the range of photo and size options, including prints (£70 to £170), digitals (£150 to £450), acrylics (£135 to £320) or canvases (£250 to £330). So, as a deal in July for instance, you could buy one image for £150 and get a 10×8 print for £10, which would save £60. Or buy three images for £300 and get one 20×16 print for £20 which saves you £115.
I’m not going to try and justify the price – it can get very expensive just for a couple of photos, but it is a once in a lifetime thing. The way that this works is actually no different to getting any professional photos taken. They get you through the door with a low session fee, then make a wad on the photos that you want. As long as you know this and don’t let your heart rule your head (or wallet), you’ll be fine. It’s worthwhile saying though that there’s absolutely no pressure to buy or spend your hard earned cash, so you do as you please.
Having done Chapter 1 and 2 of the Water Babies swimming classes, the photoshoot was a nice way to reflect on how far the sprog has come during her splashy journey. It’s also great to get professional, underwater photos, which is something that you’d struggle to ever accomplish on your own. Obviously the end result is the photos and we have absolutely no complaints with the quality of the snaps, friendliness of the staff or service we received before, during or after the shoot.
Yes, the photos are pricey, there’s no getting away from that. However, as mentioned above, you always have to pay a pretty high amount for professional photos from a photoshoot. It would be nice if the photos were a bit cheaper, but then again I guess Water Babies’ lessons are marketed as a premium class, so you’d expect this to be reflected on the photoshoot too. At the end of the day, if you want the best, you’ve got to pay for the best!
I’m now going to head off to superimpose a £5 note in one of Baby L’s photos…
The DADventurer Star Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
Edit: We have continued Water Babies swimming lessons. Here’s a more recent review of Chapter 4.
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N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion. The underwater photoshoot and photos were provided to us for free by Water Babies in exchange for writing an honest review of our experiences.