Our Big Blue Charlotte Pool!

As an Underwater Photographer I am beyond blessed to have such a gorgeous outdoor underwater studio to work in.  People are often surprised to see what it looks like from outside the water when they arrive.  And that got me thinking.  The majority of the photos I share are from under the water.  So, today I thought it was time to share some photos from above the water’s surface!

Water Baby

I have been a water lover and pool baby my entire life.  I was blessed to grow up with access to a pool at my grandmother’s house from a young age. And ever since I moved away from home I have always sought out ways to keep that access!  Whether as a substitute life guard for apartment pools in DC during grad school to have access to their pools, or as a back up swim instructor at the Y when we lived in Northern Virginia to have access to their indoor pool!  In my early twenties I took a smaller apartment in Northern Virginia, because it was the one with a pool!

Many Transitions – but no pool!

My husband and I have moved several times over our last fifteen years together.  And with every new home purchase I did my very best to find one with a pool!  But it never quite worked out.  When we decided to move to Charlotte in 2016 I was determined!!  It finally came down to us each choosing a different home.  Similar area, similar size, similar price point.  But the one I had chosen had a beautiful rectangle pool.  If you don’t tell him, I’ll admit that the house we ended up in is nicer, but I held strong – because I was determined to have a pool for myself and my three boys!

And then Came Charlotte

In the end, we agreed on our home here in Cotswold, with a promise that we would build a pool soon.  I have to admit, I didn’t have much faith on that one.  We had discussed building a pool many times – and had never gotten past the architectural plans!

Charlotte, We Have A Pool!

But oh did hubby come through!  He actually had two pool builders here the week we were moving in!  That was a bit more than I could deal with and I had to set the project aside until we got a bit settled.  But by the winter I was ready to tackle the project.  And by August 2017 Aloha Pools and Creative Rock Formations had built the pool of my dreams!  That fall Paragon Landscape came in to do a beautiful job adding our landscaping.  And, well, see for yourself!

Between the Rock Jumping Wall, the Grotto, the Rock Water Slide, and Jacob’s “wittle pool” (aka the spa), my boys don’t need much else to entertain them in the summer!

My Underwater Studio

The dark blue pebble tec, the large tanning ledge, the bubblers and waterfalls that keep the water moving, and the nice depth of the deep work together to give me an amazing Underwater Studio.  One that gives me room to work with differing colors, varying depths and many types of light!  I’ve posted some examples below.  Each photograph was taken in my underwater studio pool.  I love the variety of images it lets me create by switching up the areas of the pool I work in and at what time of day.  If you would like to see a bit more of my underwater work, my gallery has a large selection and my Instagram feed is where I post new work regularly.

Dive In!

I hope you will join me this summer in my Underwater Studio.  It is most definitely the place to be!

RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater and Portrait Photographer |


Charlotte NC Backyard Saltwater Pool with Rock Waterfall

Underwater Pool Splash and Bubbles from Behind the Grotto by RENEE STENGEL Photography Charlotte Underwater Photographer |

Sometimes I hide in the grotto and capture the fun from *behind* the waterfall….

Underwater Swimming Pool Splash and Bubbles in the deep by RENEE STENGEL Photography Charlotte Underwater Photographer |

The bubbles we can create in the depths of this swimming pool are amazing. Sometimes I work in my Underwater Studio to create commercial or stock images, sometimes to create Fine Art Images, and sometimes I create images just for the fun of it!

Cool Tween Boy Underwater with Goggles and lot of Bubbles by RENEE STENGEL Photography Charlotte Portrait and Underwater Photographer |

One of the first Underwater Portraits I created, and still one of my favorites!

Family of Five Jumping into Pool for Underwater Family Holiday Photo by RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater Photographer |

Having beautiful landscaping and this natural rock wall gave us the option to have this amazing family of five jump into the pool for the first shot of their Underwater Session!

Redhead Boy Flying Underwater with Goggles by RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Portrait and Underwater Photographer |

I’ve always loved how this 8 year old red head just looks like he is flying or hovering mid air in this underwater photo! Future Skydiver?

Charlotte Underwater Roller Derby Girl with Dreads and Rainbow Striped Socks by RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater Photographer |

Loved having a Charlotte Roller Derby Girl in my Underwater Studio!

Dancer in Purple Tulle Underwater with Pink Twinkling Bokeh Lights dancing around her by RENEE STENGEL Photography | Charlotte Underwater Photographer |

I loved capturing the reflecting light shining underwater all around here. These Bokeh Twinkles were dancing in the water and captured in camera – not added in the editing process.



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