Skip to content

He’s Got a Job Almost EVERY Diver Wants

UW model Christina Macfarlane shot by Chris Crumley

If you’ve been around SCUBA diving for any length of time, you’re likely to have seen some of Chris Crumley’s work. After all, his photographs have appeared in nearly every SCUBA magazine, numerous equipment catalogs and many non-diving media outlets. Crumley’s living the life that many young divers and photographers would love to have.

Every photographer specializes in something. Many underwater photographers specialize in marine life, seascapes or corals. For Crumley, it’s people – specifically people in and under the water. “I love what I do, there’s no doubt about it,” he says.

It’s the creative process that’s made Crumley such an in-demand shooter. An SSI Platinum Pro Diver who has logged more than 5,000 dives, Chris enjoys working with creative people – both in front of the camera and off-camera as support. “The typical shot might involve 2 or 3 assistants, along with the model and myself,” Crumley says.Photo by Chris Crumley

To say his passport has a variety of stamps is an understatement. Crumley’s traveled to the Caribbean (often), South Pacific, Egypt, Greece, Australia, the Indian Ocean, Mexico and a few places that really aren’t easy to find on the map. “I used to love the traveling, but now not as much. What I most enjoy is the team building and desire to create a great product – which is our case are photos used to brand and advertise business.”

A former IT professional, Crumley started underwater photography in 1991. In 2000, he migrated from editorial and travel assignments to full-time commercial and advertising photography. It’s taken a lot of bottom time and exposed film for Crumley. “I’ve screwed up my share of shots over the years. The digital revolution changed things for every photographer. Now, we can see right away if we got the shot or we didn’t. If we don’t like it, we’ll shoot it again.”

Crumley reveals that in high ambient light he’ll take a light black cloth with him underwater so he and his model can review the shots in real time. “it is reminiscent of olden days with a large format film camera.”

Crumley’s worked with a variety of models including Sherry Smith, Malena Sharkey and Christina Macfarlane. Each has a different look, but Crumley uses his expertise to make each have a distinctive look. His favorite shot? “It’s hard to pick just one, but I have a particular fondness for the over/under shots.”

Amazingly, Crumley has a rather unique way of finding editorial models. “Clients don’t always have a budget for models, so we resort to ‘street casting’,” he says. This involves finding potential models and giving them a 30-minute underwater modeling course that he and Sherry created a few years back. “Good underwater models are made, but it’s not as difficult as you might think.”

To read some of Crumley’s underwater modeling tips, click here: 5 Tips to Great Underwater Modeling

What’s next for Chris Crumley? He’s been collecting his best shots and it creating a coffee table book. The theme? Obviously it will focus on underwater images – the topics, a bit more diverse. “Mermaids, free diving, scuba divers, underwater fashion and even a few other surprises. Stay tuned!”

To stay up to date with Chris Crumley, visit his photo blog that he updates daily at Chris Crumley’s photo blog

Leave a Comment