The Mermaid
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The Mermaid

A lot of people ask me if this image is Photoshopped. Photographers and clients mean completely different things when they think about photo manipulations. Photographers are curious about the level of difficulty in retouching such image, while everyone else wonders if the bride was superimposed to an ocean background in Photoshop to look like a mermaid. I'm happy to explain.

The mermaid happens to be Natalie, a beautiful French Canadian bride from Montreal. The shot and setting are very spontaneous and natural. It happened in a whimsical hair salon in Montreal that had a saltwater fish tank. Natalie was getting ready at the salon; putting on the wedding gown and doing her hair and makeup. During that time, I was wondering how to incorporate the fish tank into the photos, and I have to be honest, although I knew an image was there, I wasn't sure what image it was. After trying various compositions, I almost gave up.

The idea for this shot suddenly popped up in my head when our bride was fully ready and about to leave. I happened to be on one side of the aquarium, and Natalie was on the other. And that's when it struck me! A mermaid! I took this photo through the double glass of the aquarium. Notice the uneven reflections of the dress in the picture. With the help of Daria Marchenko, the second photographer, who simultaneously was holding the light and veil, we discovered our mermaid.

In terms of retouching, there was barely any. I blurred the hand of my assistant holding the veil; the rest is a natural setting at a very lucky moment. This photograph later went on winning multiple awards and became a staple image of our studio. It also helped me a lot in establishing my brand.

Written by Michael Greenberg


Published online and in print by the Canadian educational magazine for photographers – PhotoEd.

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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