Photographing Great White Sharks

Michael Muller is one of the busiest Hollywood photographers around. His name may not be familiar to you, but his work might be. He photographs the biggest stars in the business. Chances are you’ve seen his work more than once. But he has another side to him. When he’s not hob-knobbing with celebrities, he’s busy photographing sharks. Muller is passionate about the wild side of the planet, climate change, and how everything is interconnected:

“I’m gonna take my twenty-five years of Hollywood experience into the wild.”

What’s the biggest difference between shooting in Hollywood and shooting in nature? You have to adapt to the environment rather than create the environment. Muller came up with this outrageous idea to photograph sharks in their natural environment using lights. He had another outrageous idea: to have one of his subjects breach.

great white shark photos Michael Muller

Using his Phase One 645 DF housed inside an underwater casing and an array of lights, he set about shooting the great white shark.

“With actors, I can direct. I can tell them, ‘Look over here,’ ‘Do this,’ ‘Do that.’ With sharks I can’t. All we can do is pray they’re going to come to the right place at the right time and jump, and I’m going to be ready to capture the shot.”

Shooting underwater photos using medium format cameras

The camera was in the shark’s mouth!

It took him two trips to get that magic shot.

Michael Muller shark photography


“When I look back on the thirty years of shooting, all the commercial work I have done, every celebrity portrait I have shot, every athlete, they all pale in comparison to this shark project. This has been the most profound, enlightening, fulfilling project I have ever done. And that’s because it’s bigger than me. We’re talking about the environment, talking about climate change, we’re talking about animals. And it’s been the most amazing experience and something I would never trade for anything.”

shark photos using medium format camera

“I challenge all of you. I dare all of you. Go on do something that’s personal. Go take your camera and go have fun, and find something that’s meaningful to you.”

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