Awesome Photos Of Models Swimming With Whale Sharks

Models Whales Photoshoot

Photo: Photography by Shawn Heinrichs

Environmental photographer Shawn Heinrichs’s other-worldly photographs of models swimming with whale sharks off the Philippines coast have recently gone viral — and it’s easy to see why.The captivating Whale Shark Fashion Shoot melds Heinrichs’ passion for scuba diving and photography with his love for marine wildlife. The images are the first in a series of projects meant to raise awareness for at-risk ocean-dwelling species.

Click here to jump right to the photos >>

His twist? Posing the endangered animals alongside gorgeous models. His strategy seems to be working, since his photographs of women posing with whale sharks have been featured on news outlets from The Telegraph to WIRED magazine.

Heinrichs collaborated on the images with fashion photographer Kristian Schmidt and two professional underwater models, Roberta Mancino and Hannah Fraser. The entire shoot took a total of four months to prepare for, and five 20-hour days to shoot.

Photographing marine life is nothing new for Heinrichs, who has been doing investigative reporting on oceans and endangered spices since the 1990s. The cinematographer, scuba diver, and marine conservationist has covered everything from local (and illegal) shark fisheries to the decreasing populations of manta rays and dolphins around the world.

Surprisingly, this shoot was one of his least dangerous stunts, even though the models were swimming precariously close to the 20,000-pound fish (the largest in the world). But for someone who’s had machetes held to his throat and gunshots fired at his hotel room for his past exposés, an underwater photoshoot in the Phillipines must have been a welcome change.

“Whale sharks are gentle animals and present zero threat to people,” Heinrichs told the Telegraph. “The fishermen we worked with welcomed us to their village. and helped us interact safely and respectfully with the whale sharks.”

Two models were used for the shoot: Italian model Roberta Mancino (a world skydiving champion) and model Hannah Fraser (professional underwater model).

Source: Asia Society

The Philippines photo shoot took 20-hours to complete, beginning at 4 a.m.

Source: Asia Society

Whale Sharks are the largest fish on earth, measuring 30 feet long and weighing 20,000 pounds.

Source: Telegraph

Could you imagine swimming this close to something so huge?

Model Roberta mirrors the Whale Shark's movements as it touches the water's surface.

Though the lighting and colour levels have been tweaked in the final images, nothing else has been Photoshopped.

Source: Telegraph


For more information on the project, go to

Most of Shawn Heinrichs's previous work has focused on endangered marine wildlife, particularly illegal shark fishing.

Source: Asia Society

Here, Japanese workers walk through rows of legally caught salmon sharks removing their hearts and fins.

Source: Asia Society

Workers sort the fins from primarily blue and mako sharks in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Source: Asia Society

He also documented illegal gill trading. Here, fishermen haul in a Chilean devil ray (a threatened species) to market in Lombok, Indonesia.

Source: Asia Society

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.