Babies are born with a "gag reflex" which stops water entering their windpipe when submerged in water. If you want to get technical " The gag reflex causes an involuntary spasm of the glottis and the epiglottis, preventing inhalation of water into the lungs!"

They also possess the "Amphibian" reflex which leads to the widespread belief that babies can swim. It causes the legs and arms and torso of newborns to move in spurts that can propel them through the water, like they are swimming. 

  Your baby's swimming lessons will build on these natural reflexes and prepares them for an Underwater Photography session.

Usually at least one term of baby swimming classes (which include submersions)  is required. If you have not attended an organised swimming class but take your baby swimming regularly, and have practiced submersions, you can still attend.  Your baby just needs to be happy with submersions and we expect them to be able to do at least three underwater submersions in thirty minutes.

  It is important you practice submersions and take your baby swimming regularly in the run up to the photo shoot. Babies should be familiar with water and know a cue for being submerged. Some teacher's use "Name Ready Swim",  or "One, Two, Three, We're going under the Sea" or Name, Ready then blow on the babies face. It doesn't matter which you use, but we expect your baby to have a cue, and you will be asked to say your cue when the swimming teacher submerges your child for their underwater photo. 

If you baby or child is not happy to be submerged, we cannot get an underwater photo of them, so it is important to practice before the photo shoot. 

We cannot guarantee excellent results of every child, since it depends on how they are on the photo shoot day. For best results, please attend a term of baby swimming classes which include submersions. You swimming lessons will build up over the term to include longer submersions and also underwater releases.


If you are unsure, please contact us for advice before booking your place.

Please attend the underwater baby photo shoot as you would a swimming lesson. Babies will need to wear a double nappy, a swim nappy and a happy nappy over the top (or similar system).

  At least one parent needs to be in the pool with the baby or child, but it may be possible for both parents to be in the water if you wish. If you are bringing siblings, each child needs to book a place and have an adult with them.

How the Group Photo Shoot Works

You will be in small groups of no more than 5 children, and after a warm up, we will take some above the water photos, where you will be asked to hold your child in a side swim position and swim them towards the camera. You may be in some of the shots so please bring your best smile!
We then move to the underwater studio, where you will take it in turns to pass your child to the swimming teacher, who will submerge your child for you, while their photograph is taken. Please use the same command you use in your swimming lessons. For example, Name, Ready, Swim.

Your child will be submerged for approximately 3-4 seconds, and in this short time, the teacher will place your child in the ideal position for their photo, let go briefly, then pick them up and pass them back to you. 

We rotate round the group, giving each child a turn underwater.  Once you have had three submersions, you can move onto costume shots, parent and child shots, prop shots or sibling shots, as long as your child is happy to continue. It is difficult to advise you if we have a good shot from the first three submersions since photography is subjective so we advise you to use most of your submersions for your most preferred shot.

We aim for at least 3 submersions per child, but if your child is still happy, we can do up to 6.   Your photo shoot session lasts 30 minutes in total. 

Should you want more time, we do offer private photo shoots where you get 30 mins to yourselves, without sharing with other clients. 

  Older children can also book onto a photo shoot

Children of any age can attend the photo shoot. They just need to be happy going underwater. Please be aware that children aged between 18 months and 36 months tend to be more difficult to photograph but it varies from child to child. They can become overwhelmed by the equipment and flashing lights etc, so can help to practice at home using the flash on your camera. If you would like to bring your child to a photo shoot, please look at them underwater next time you are swimming. Do they keep their eyes open? Are they happy to go under? Will they go under more than once? Will they let go of you? Do they adapt well to new situations?

If the answer is no to any of these questions then it is worth waiting till they are a bit older.

  Children can wear goggles for the photo shoot but the pictures do look better without. Most children will get the hang of opening their eyes in the pool if they practice in the run up to the photo shoot. 

Siblings of babies attending the shoot are welcome too, but must also book a place, and practice before the photo shoot. 


A costume box will be available on poolside should you want a different kind of shot

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We bring a selection of costumes to every photo shoot and are free to use during your photo shoot experience. We will ask you after three submersions if you would like to use any of the costumes. These include Superman, Batman, Pirate, Fairy, Frog, Dresses, Mermaid Tails, Duck, to name but a few. We also have fun props that children can swim with like Nemo, Fish, Octopus, Sunglasses,  Fairy Wands and Pirate Swords. You are welcome to bring your own costumes too as long as they are pool safe.

Viewing Your images

One week after the photo shoot you will be sent your images via We Transfer.  This will be sent as an e-mail and you will also get a text notification. . Your gallery will contain all of your edited photos from the shoot with our watermark over them. You can then decide if you want to buy any and purchase them directly on the website. The versions you buy do not have our copyright across them.  Digital files and prints and photo products are available. By owning the digital file you are free to make as many copies of the photos as you like, at no extra cost. You can even use your pictures online on Facebook etc. We just ask that you credit with the images. (Personal use only, commercial use by arrangement).

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 You may also choose to have a picture taken with your baby or child.

 If you are going to try this, please practice before the photo shoot. You need to exhale all of your air so you sink, then you need to practice opening your eyes underwater, and smiling!

 When you first try this you will probably pull funny faces, so its well worth practicing. 

We will position you in the best way for the photo but your expression is up to you so please practice before! 


A little touch of magic! 

Sometimes pictures need a little sprinkling of magic.  When the parent or baby handler are in the shot, they can be edited out of your finished picture in most cases, no problem. Removing the baby handler is included free of charge when you buy your photos.  Minor Photoshop work is included free of charge also. Should you want additional Photoshop work, there may be an extra fee as it is can be very time consuming. This is charged at £25 per hour, and a quote can be provided on request. 


Please read  the Terms and Conditions before booking.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

The Photo Shoot booking fee is non refundable,  and does not cover the cost of photographs.  The booking fee covers the cost of  the photo shoot only.

 The associated swim school and Starfish Underwater Photography charge a booking fee to cover the cost of our  travel to different venues, swimming pool hire, and swimming teacher or associated swim school costs and fees. These costs have to be covered even if you do not attend on the day, so the booking fee is non-refundable. We do not profit from the booking fee.

You are under no obligation to buy any of your pictures after the photo shoot. If you do choose to purchase any, buying the digital file means you can make as many copies of the pictures are you like, at no extra cost. You are free to choose any printer you like. When you buy your files, you will be sent a Copyright notice which limits your use to personal and family use only (not business use) You may need this copyright permission when printing at a photo lab.

Buying the digital files does not give you Copyright of the images. Copyright remains with Starfish Underwater Photography. Digital Files are sold with the following licence.  

  You are permitted to make as many copies of the photo as you like for personal and family use, but Copyright remains with Starfish Underwater Photography.  You may use the photos online, on personal websites or personal social media pages, but must credit Starfish Underwater Photography with the images. The photographs should not be published or used commercially, or in any other way without permission from Starfish Underwater Photography.

If you purchase prints or photo products, you are not permitted to make any copies of these or use the images online. Should you require extra prints you will need to purchase them from the Starfish website.

Advertising and Commercial Photography is available but different pricing and licences will apply.

We cannot guarantee excellent results for every participant since it depends on how your child is on the day.  This is why we charge for the photographs separately. We do try very hard to get you a great shot though, and succeed most times.

Please remember this is underwater photography, and we have a limited amount of time and number of submersions to capture the perfect shot. Once the swimming teacher has released your child underwater, they can turn away, sink down, swim up, pull a funny face, cover their eyes etc. This is out of our control and we can only capture what we see. There is of course Photoshop should your images need a touch of magic!

If you fail to attend on the day for whatever reason,  the booking fee is still non-refundable.

No other filming or photography equipment is allowed on poolside, please ensure any family members or friends attending with you are made aware of this condition. This is for child protection reasons.

Avoid feeding your child within an hour before your photo shoot, or 30 minutes if breast-feeding. 

If your child is very clingy and won't let go of you in the water and won't go to anyone else, we may not be able to get a good photo of them and would not recommend attending. 

At least one parent must be in the water with the child. This includes older children who can swim as we may ask you to assist with positioning.  All participants must shower before entering the pool and should refrain from using hair gel, or body lotion etc as these products can ruin the clarity of the water and leave it cloudy. 

Prices, dates, and products are subject to change. Please refer back to the website for the latest information. If a shoot you have already booked  changes, or has to be cancelled, we will contact you and you will be offered a refund or a place on the new photo shoot.

Your child should wear a swim nappy with a Happy Nappy (or similar) over the top. This is because a nappy leak can lead to a pool closure, and the end of the photo shoot. Sometimes the Happy Nappy makes the child very buoyant so you may be asked to remove it for a few photos. 

Please do not attend the photo shoot with your baby in a baby wetsuit,  as these make the children too buoyant, and they float back to the surface too quickly.

If your child has had diarrhoea in the 48 hours before your photo shoot, you will not be able to attend.  These are standard pool rules and ensure the safety of all bathers.

Please be on time for the photo shoot. We hire the pools at set times, and the numbers we can take are limited, so we may not be able to accommodate you if you miss your time slot. If you arrive part way through your time slot, you will have missed the warm up and will get less submersions and less photos to choose from, so please be on time. Your allocated time slot is when the photo shoot will start so please arrive early enough to allow changing time.

Please do not enter the pool until you are invited to do so. This includes other pools if the venue has them. We ask that you wait until your allotted time slot to ensure the best results from the photo session. 

  Sometimes things can go wrong and it will be out of our control. If a pool is closed unexpectedly or some other uncontrollable event occurs, which prevents the photo shoot from going ahead, you will be offered a full refund or a place on the next photo shoot. An alternative photo shoot date will be arranged as quickly as possible. Don't worry, this is quite rare.

Your child must be comfortable with underwater submersions, and we expect them to be able to perform at least 3 underwater submersions in a 30 minute period. Each submersion would be 3-5 seconds and they will be released by the swimming teacher.   If you are unsure if they are ready, please contact us for advice before booking.

We reserve the right to cut a photo shoot short if your baby or child is distressed or ill. You will not be entitled to a refund. Your baby's safety and wellbeing is our first priority.

Older children are welcome to come to a photo shoot, but they should practice before attending. Practice opening their eyes underwater, and smiling! Also look at your child's expression underwater. They should practice expressions you want to see in the resulting images. If your child is not comfortable underwater,  we cannot take good pictures of them underwater, so would not recommend that they attend the photo shoot.

Group and family photos are very popular but please practice before the photo shoot. Practice exhaling before going under the water (blow out all your air as full lungs will bring you back to the surface), smiling underwater and opening your eyes without goggles. We can arrange you in the best position but we have no control of your expressions and whether you can keep your eyes open under the water. We can advise you on the day but it is helpful if you can practice before as it’s much harder than it looks!

Your photos will be available to buy for at least 3 months after your photo shoot. After this time you may still be able to purchase your pictures, but we cannot store your images indefinitely so cannot guarantee how long they will be saved for. 

 A postage and packaging charge of £4.95 is applied to digital file orders on USB stick. This is below the cost price of the USB stick and Royal Mail Recorded Delivery.  “We Transfer” is available if you do not want to pay the postage costs for digital files. We use this as a flat postage rate on all items. 

The number of photos of each child will vary depending on how your child was on the day.  Typically you can expect between 8-15 pictures from a group shoot for babies, but it can be more if your child performed very well on the day. For older children this may be many more since they can submerge more times during the session. For private shoots of 30 mins, you can expect 20-50 images.

When you view and buy your pictures, they will have been sharpened and colour corrected in Photoshop. They may also be cropped. Digital files may vary in size due to different crops of the original picture. All digital files supplied with be large enough to print up to at least A2 in size.  Digital files are supplied as high quality JPEG's. We do not sell Raw files.

Should the swimming teacher appear in your pictures, she/he will be removed when you purchase the image. Other Photoshop work is also possible, but may incur an extra charge. Should you request extra photoshop work, we will let you know if it’s possible and if there is a cost. (We only charge for really time consuming edits)

We supply your best photographs in your gallery, it is not possible to include every frame taken.

Products and prices are subject to change.

All participants take part in the photo shoots at their own risk. 

It is expected that you will notify us of any health conditions that could be an issue during the photo shoot.

We cannot be held responsible for failures of the associated swim school or hosting swimming pool. 

Starfish Underwater Photography shall not be responsible for the loss or damage, of or to, any property or to any person arising from the booking of, or participation in the activities.


Thanks Very Much!