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The best smiles may be all wet

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

09:41, April 09, 2013

Artistic portrait photos by Wang Tao's Sparkle Underwater Photography studio in Shanghai. (Photo/China Daily)

The new fashion for an artistic portrait photo: Take it underwater. Zhang Xiaomei, a 20-something Shanghai native who works in the media industry, tried it out twice.

"It was a completely different experience," says Zhang of her first such experience last May. "You get the feeling that you're cut off from the rest of the world. But also it's romantic and like a fairy tale."

She then successfully convinced her fiance to have their wedding photos taken underwater a couple of months after her first try. "Can you imagine a 1.87-meter-tall man trying out the mermaid tail under the water?" Zhang says, laughing.

A commercial underwater photo portrait is ideal for post-80 and post-90 generations who adore taking snapshots, but are looking for new ways to be artistic, says Ai Cheng, owner and photographer of No 55 Underwater Photography in Shanghai.

Ai opened a studio in Shanghai's suburb of Songjiang two years ago, building a 5-meter-deep, fan-shaped pool equipped with heating facilities to start up the business.

Ai says most of his clients are female - half of them coming for an artistic portrait photo and the rest for wedding pictures. "Some of them drag their boyfriends or fiances, who make a stink face, down to the water to shoot as well," he says.

A 30-minute tutorial on how to smile under the water so that you won't drink too much water and how to open your eyes underwater is offered in his studio for those don't know how to swim.

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