Saturday, July 9, 2011

Xcel 3mm Hydroflex: my 1st commercial shoot since my return to the Island

The hardest part about this photo shoot wasn't diving to 80' feet on a breath hold. It wasn't worrying about the composition or lighting while I had eight stories of water above me. It was trying to convince my old dive buddy to pass along my estimate.

You see, about the same time I left for photography school my old dive buddy got a low level sponsorship with Xcel. He gets "x" amount of free gear a year and in return he sends them (mostly) self-took portraits, and promotes his awesome gear across the web.

From my perspective it was a straight forward request; company ask for photos, professional photographer forwards estimate with reasonable day rate and fees.

However, I can see from his point, "a company is going to spend...Whoa! That much to take photos of me!?" It's pretty incredible that a school teacher can have the support of a large company like Xcel.

 It took a few emails, but he was finally swayed to forward my estimate.

Once the estimate was approved it was all about getting down to business.

During our warm up a large school of 2000+ bait fish drifted into us. As I floated at the jet ski getting ready for a warm up dive, a turtle lazily swims through the bait fish as he ascends to the surface. In one cohesive unit the opelu circle around the turtle, giving me an idea.

Xcel diver sims through huge school of fish
Xcel diver sims through huge school of fish

The first day we had horrible visibility and a slight current. When the vis is bad the submarine stays at a deeper depth. A little too deep for me and my camera. If it wasn't for the opelu, the day would have been a complete wash.

Day 2:

The reshoot went amazing, great vis, no current, and a "shallower" depth.

Xcel diver, dives with submarine
Xcel diver sees what submarine sees
Surfacing from the depths below.

xcel freediver ascends from dive
Xcel freediver ascends from depths normally reserved for submarines 

45 minutes the following evening was set for the lifestyle shots:
1 (beautiful) assistant,
2 speedlights,
some great results:

xcel wetsuit
Xcel diver prepares for his dive. Photograph by Derek Broussard

Working with Xcel was a great experience. Not only does the company produce superb equipement, the art director was a pleasure to work with.  Hopefully more jobs will come in the future.


  1. Wow great work and I love the editorial.
    Najah Z

  2. Beautiful images, Derek. I think they should get you back again to do more shoots. You have a very stylized eye for underwater action with exquisite compositional elements. You're always thinking out of the box and going forward with new ideas. Good on you! I think it'll pay off...!!!