Lighting at the Beach

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by R-V, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. R-V

    R-V TPF Noob!

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    I will be going to the beach this next weekend. I want to take portraits in the sand dunes. I am going to carry my 20D, 28-135mm and my 70-200mm f2.8. I have to sets of reflectors 41" and 22". I am planning late afternoon time, a couple of hours before sunset.

    I would like some thoughts on how to position my subjects (aka my daughters) in relationship to the sun. I want to know the direction to face my daughters.

    Thanks for any advise.

    Rus
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just a small note:
    Beaches contain 2 of camera's worst enemies... water (especialy salt water!), and sand. Be EXTREMELY careful and do NOT place the camera down on the towel, if not using it, keep it in the camera bag. I strongly suggest that you do not change lenses in a sandy area. If needed, do it inside the car in the parking lot.

    As for hints:
    - Keep the sun behind you else they will look only like silhouettes.

    - If shooting into the sun AND you want to see their faces, use flash. Off camera flashes will give you excellent results with a little practice.

    - Sunset shots are the most dramatic, but the "prime time" experience lasts only a few minutes (perhaps a 10 minute time frame at most). Shoot fast, plan faster or better yet, plan ahead. ;)

    - Catching them playing or doing something interesting will give you excellent camera shots (throwing handfuls of sand at you is NOT interesting... lol).

    Have fun. There are tons of interesting thingsto shoot at a beach. Walk around and have fun. Don't trip over people and be respectful if they do not want their pic taken.

    All kinds of fun things on beaches:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    Using reflectors – though excellent from a lighting point of view – may make your subjects/daughters squint, which is obviously undesirable for portraits.

    So here's an approach that differs from Jerry's:
    shoot against the sun (no squinting), and use fill-flash (at 1/2 or 1/4 power; experiment) to open up the shadows. No reflectors. Shoot in manual to prevent the camera's circuitry to compensate and thus void the flash's underexposure effect.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I did that before, and with excellent results, however best results came when I used off camera flash. For that one needs a small cheap tripod to hold the flash, or a VOFH (voice operated flash holder, otherwise called... and assistant... LOL).

    You will find that very little flash is needed, indeed I used levels around 1/8th to 1/16th with good success.
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hang around for the following 10-20 minutes after sunset for some awesome colors in the sky. Sure enough, while you and family are wanting to have dinner (along with the rest of beachcombers) that will be the time to grab those colors.
     
  6. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    Even better would be using 1 or 2 huge softboxes, which is what pros shooting Victoria's Secrets' bikinis would do (requiring even more voice operated lighting slaves...). But I doubt you have 2 wireless softboxes for on the beach/in the dunes.
     
  7. AndrewG

    AndrewG TPF Noob!

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    If you're shooting into the sun (contre jour), you don't need flash to avoid a silhouette; either get in close and take a light reading off the face of the subect and lock it, or take a light reading in your own shadow.
    Don't rely on your camera's meter to get the exposure correct because it will meter for the sun, not the subject.
     
  8. dylj

    dylj TPF Noob!

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    But then you get way blown-out highlights in the background :)

    Fill flash will decrease the dynamic range, so it's useful.
     
  9. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Also remember the bright sand will throw off your camera meter.
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm NOT saying "no" to this... just going to say that a softbox makes an excellent kite on a normally windy beach. :) My bare flash with bounce card worked ok since I was the only one not in the picture. Is it the best? Nope, but better than not having it there! :D
     
  11. R-V

    R-V TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the Help. I am going to go about an hour before Sun set and expiriment with the Sun behind my subjects. and turn them as the sun sets and let the sun light the from the back to the side. I will then use the reflectors to fill in the shadows.

    If anyone has more Ideas keep them comming.

    Thanks
    Rus
     
  12. Freedbaby

    Freedbaby TPF Noob!

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    Using a 430EX (Canon)...how do you determine 1/8th or 1/16th on the flash screen? I had this problem outside the other day. Also where would you point the flash if it was in the hot shoe....also, with or without diffuser??

    Freedbaby
     

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