• couple underwater wedding photography, cenote trash the dress, Riviera Maya, Mexico
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How to Rock your Underwater Trash the Dress

Mermaid brides, floating angels in the water, tiny fish swimming by, gentle smile and the adoring gaze of a handsome groom, all embraced by the mysticism of an ancient cave. The results of a Cenote trash the dress shoot are magical. Getting that shot is a process and collaboration between our knowledgeable photographers and you, our beautiful and adventurous people.

Sol Tamargo and Matt Adcock were the first photographers in the Riviera Maya to take brides and grooms underwater in the cenotes, publish, and really push the photo concept to grow.  Since then del Sol photography has perfected their underwater photography techniques. The Del Sol team are the most experienced cenote trash the dress photographers in the Mexican Caribbean. Apart from photographing brides and grooms we have also had the chance to photograph MERMAIDS!

We use professional Nauticam underwater camera housings and multiple, off-camera, underwater lighting systems to create technically complex and artistic images: an underwater photographic studio.

The incredibly technical aspect of our underwater trash the dress photography means each photographer needs at least one assistant for lighting alone.  When working with water and electronics anything can happen! We also have 2 sets of everything: cameras, housings and lights so nothing can stop your photoshoot.

Beyond equipment we have the benefit of over 10 years of experience in cenote trash the dress. For our models, who have (usually) never had a trash the dress session before, we can share our expertise to get the best possible results. From locations to posing to editing and post production we know how to make your images shine. We also know how to keep you as comfortable and safe as possible! All of our Trash The Dress specialist are professional divers!

 “It’s challenging to get what we want without, I don’t want to say we are killing our clients, lol, but we are pushing them to their limits. We work in the safe places, mostly where they can stand. We have a rescue swimmer at every shoot. A lot of times we throw our cameras down and help the bride because the crinoline’s wrapped around her legs!” – Sol Tamargo

Here are del Sol Photography’s top tips and tricks on how to rock your cenote trash the dress!

Practice makes Perfect

Practice ahead of time, in your bathtub or swimming pool (you can bring a mirror underwater with you). Open your eyes, soften your face (don’t fill your cheeks with air), put on a soft smile. You don’t need to go deep or hold your breath for more than a few seconds to get amazing pictures. The cenotes are a safe environment and we always have a safety swimmer, don’t be nervous, have fun!

“most importantly: trust Sol! When having the pictures taken you will have no idea how amazing they will turn out… By the end of the day you will be exhausted, all that swimming in a dress is tiring but so much fun.  We had fun the entire day, enjoying the entire experience.  But remember trust Sol, she has such a flair for life and the work she does.” – Lorraine

Avoid Wardrobe Malfunctions

Strapless dresses are all the rage for destination weddings, but they often lead to “wardrobe malfunctions”. They become very heavy and tend to pull down underwater. Be sure that the dress fits you well and gives you the freedom to move comfortably and swim.  SOMETIMES, wardrobe malfunctions may lead to some pretty awesome photos… we like to call those “happy accidents” and these usually lead to some of the most amazing and sexy photographs of couples in love you have ever seen.  Some #NSFW pictures here “Adam and Eve Sessions

Look your best

Get your hair and makeup done by professionals (waterproof is best!) and bring a small make-up bag for in between touch-ups. We recommend Sara Tamargo (Sol’s sister)
[email protected]  www.saratamargo.com

Bring Props

Bring your veil, bouquet, props with a POP of color, cool sunglasses, alternate wardrobe or some sexy heels. How about a second, brightly colored dress or something more casual and fun. Details can really make a photo. We love, love, looove Chelsea Bond barefoot Jewelry. Ask about their Special Promos! Incorporate your hobbies and passions into the shoot, bring special props (that you don’t mind getting wet of course). Photographs, lingerie, sports gear, grandma’s handkerchief, any personal touch you can think of that will really create a moment. You might not use it all but it’s great to have options!

“If I could give anyone planning a photo shot with Del Sol advice it would be to take time planning it, personalize it and don’t rush.  I made my veil hand sewing all the jewels so they would sparkle just right.  I bought so many different outfits and accessories that I brought with me that day to assure I had every thing possible to get the best pictures we wanted.  Of course we only used half of what was brought, once you get there you will just feel what you really want to use. Bring shoes, lots of shoes, I wish I had brought more shoes!” – Lorraine

Read more about what to wear for underwater photography

What about the Groom?

For grooms we recommend wearing khakis, linen or cotton pants and cotton button-up shirts, lightweight clothing that breathes and allows you to be comfortable swimming. Light and bright colors look great in the dark cenotes. What about a superman shirt? Be aware of the “see through factor”: polka dot boxers or undershirts might be more visible than expected!

Be environmentally friendly

The cenotes are a delicate eco-system, if at all possible avoid wearing sunscreen, you will be shaded for most of the day, the palm trees offer good protection. If you feel you must wear sunscreen, please ensure that it is biodegradable and eco-friendly, same goes for insect repellent. DO wear sunscreen in the days before your shoot, to avoidt tan-lines or lobster sunburns!

Start your day as you mean to go on!

Come to the shoot full of energy. Eat a healthy breakfast, drink lots of water and get a good rest the night before. Go easy on the partying the day before, don’t let a hangover to ruin your adventure!

Remember that trash the dress shoots are about FUN, capturing a very special moment in your life and the passion and love that exists between you and your partner. We work with you and your comfort level. You want to keep it elegant and demure?

“I wasn’t sure just how much Dax and I would bare during our trash the dress shoot. I’d seen the steamier pictures and I appreciated that this was a once and a lifetime kinda thing for those of us not working as professional nude models ;) When else would I have the chance to slide out of a wedding gown into nothing more than my husband’s waiting arms!?! It happened organically. We snuck into a more deserted cavern in the system of cenotes and the privacy, coupled with the complete and total level of comfort we felt with Polly (and a shot or two of xtabentún) helped us shed our inhibitions… and our skivvies. Polly made me feel beautiful and that, with the buoyancy of the crystalline water, the subtle draping of tulle or deep red satin over my curves, and the willingness of my husband to go for it made baring it all a no-brainer.” – Cori

Enjoy the Trash the Dress Experience, it’s all about YOU!

“Our Trash the Dress was our private second wedding. Pure connection, no one around, just our emotional expression captured on camera by Debora and Del Sol. At first we wanted to have unique pictures to signify our wedding day. After our first photo session with Debora, a year ago, we realized it was all about the experience. Experience like no other before. Swimming underwater in a wedding gown, feeling completely open with each other, and entirely comfortable with the photographer! The memories transformed into pictures”.

“That’s what Del Sol does. They create an unforgettable experience and then magically transform it into pictures. We personally encourage everyone to do it.” – Lina and Serge

“My Allan and I both felt like we were in a surreal world sensual and erotic.  We loved the little fish and the light streaming through the water.  We had to empty our lungs and relax to stay underwater, after realizing this trick it became easier to be underwater and I did feel like a mermaid, alluring and sexy!  Sol was amazing directing us and putting us at ease and the entire staff saw to our comfort and made the day our favorite day the most memorable day of our wedding week!” – Kim

I’m excited… but I have a few questions:

Should I buy another dress for the TTD, I’m afraid my dress will be really trashed?
The dresses very rarely get damaged from a trash the dress although they are very likely to get dirty! We even had a bride who wore her wedding dress underwater during her TTD BEFORE her wedding.

“The water is so clean in the cenotes, it doesn’t hurt the dress at all! In fact, maybe it even “baptizes” it! All I had to do was pop the dress into the tub with cold water, give it a little rinse, hang in the breeze and it was perfect.  The only thing I ruined was maybe the dry cleaning/preserve the dress myth!” – Susana

However, if you’d like to take it easy on your “real wedding dress” we can photograph you wearing it outside the water in a controlled way for the dresses protection and you can slip into something you bought specially for the more adventurous part of the session.  The photo results will still be exotic and fabulous, we are always happy to work within your comfort zone.

Is there anything else we should know?

1.  Once again, we would love love love to remind you to wear sunblock ( biodegradable one in order to get in the cenotes) and apply WELL before the wedding!   Wear it the whole time you are here. We DO NOT edit our photos to correct for sunburns, tan lines, nor do we delay/cancel shoots for the same reasons. We recommend at least 50 SPF to any exposed skin surface and at least 100 SPF for your faces. The sun’s rays are very strong here and will burn unprotected skin quicker than you could ever imagine!  Please save your skin!

2. Please bring towels, a plastic bag for your dress, and a change of clothes.

3. Drink lots of bottled water, eat a healthy and hearty meal a few hours before, and get plenty of rest the night before your shoot – you’re going to need all of the hydration, nourishment and energy you can muster to make this a great shoot!

Want to see more? Here are some of del Sol Photography’s fave Trash the Dress Sessions:

Emily + Scotty – when couples tell us from the get-go they have an exhibitionist streak we know we’ll have fun! One of our favorite Adam and Eve sessions of 2015.
Danielle + Brandon – Danielle and Brandon’s session is the first ever session where the bride and groom literally shed their clothing to get down to their birthday suits, totally nude and comfortable in their nakedness together. They also brought some fun accessories including converse shoes, beautiful tattoos and an adventurous attitude!
Robin + James – Robin could teach mermaids a thing or two about looking good underwater!!
Suzannah + Josh – Josh is a photographer himself so he was the exception to the rule where the groom is the one most into the photos! “I was drawn to the ethereal and angelic look of the photos you were creating. You guys have a group of photographers that understand light… and that’s the MOST important thing. Good models and willing couples are great, but without the light… well, there is nothing” – Josh 

If you have any more questions please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!


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