Portrait Photography Dives To New Depths

Image source: Photographer Liz Harlin

From a member of the school camera club to an award-winning photographer, Liz Harlin has developed her own special brand of portrait photography that is sure to make a splash in Noosa. Jolene Ogle dives into the world of underwater photography

It was while working in the school darkroom many years ago that Liz Harlin’s passion for photography slowly started to develop. Liz didn’t know it then but this experience would be the foundation of an exciting career that would take her around the world and into the depths of the ocean.

After university and a detour into investment banking, Liz decided to take a year off to travel and, on a whim, learnt how to dive. The year was 2002 and Liz never returned to banking. Instead, she travelled the world scuba diving and filming marine wildlife.

Liz has photographed everything from a swirling school of trevally in a remote location 240 nautical miles off Mexico’s coast to a tiny banded coral shrimp living in a shipwreck in the Solomon Islands.

Her works have featured in the New York Times, on postage stamps and in the Smithsonian Institution and while this multi award-winning photographer loves her wildlife work, she is now turning her attention to the human form.

“With wildlife, there is little collaboration between subject and photographer,” Liz explains. “Working underwater with people can be more creatively unpredictable. We often go into the water with a concept, but the water has a mind of its own. The end results are often delightfully surprising. No two photo shoots are ever the same.”

She now loves to help transform our clunky, land-dwelling bodies into ethereal pieces of art that give art-lovers a chance to create their own bespoke piece of work in which they are the muse and star.

“This form of portrait photography is perfect for anyone who wants something truly unique,” Liz says.

“Like the water, my clients become fluid. While underwater they can’t see much or hear me, so they are free to be themselves.

“They are free to lose their inhibitions. As soon as my clients see their image on the camera screen, they are in awe of the beauty and really immerse themselves into the experience.”

Unlike traditional portrait photography, underwater portraits are taken with the purpose of becoming a piece of custom fine art for the home and are perfect for maternity, bridal or lifestyle portraits.

Whether you want to pose in your wedding dress, in your favourite formal gown or in something created from Liz’s in-studio wardrobe, there are endless possibilities when it comes to what can be dreamt up in that fluid space between reality and the underwater world.

The heavy weight of the world dissipates in the water when you are free to move and glide as if you are as light as a feather.

To capture the best images, Liz has built a custom underwater studio perfectly orientated towards the sun to maximise the most flattering light. Liz is obsessed with ensuring water clarity and the water is heated for ultimate client comfort year-round.

Her pool offers three depths, from very shallow up to 2.4 metres for those times people want to give themselves over to the water and become a fluid, free-flowing form. Make-up and soft, billowing dresses are all included in the sessions, plus a unique piece of printed fine art you can display in your home.

In a world where we have all tried it all, underwater portrait photography offers a fresh take on the traditional form.

Instead of hanging artwork in which we have no emotional investment, Liz’s pieces allow you to shed yourself of the daily grind and become an artist’s muse, if even for one day


Ten lucky readers can secure an extra $100 print credit towards their bespoke artwork. Simply mention IN Noosa Magazine when booking your underwater portrait session to take advantage of this exclusive offer. T&Cs apply and can be viewed at innoosamagazine.com.au. The $100 credit will be added to the $250 credit already included in Liz’s photographic sessions.
Liz Harlin Photographic

About the Author /


Jolene has worked in the local media industry for more than five years. She is now a small business owner, mother to one sassy toddler and a newborn baby and loves to share stories about Noosa from its glorious food scene to the inspiring people.

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