Tips on Portraits at the Beach

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by stellar_gal, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. stellar_gal

    stellar_gal TPF Noob!

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    I am going to the gulf coast in a couple of days. It will be me, the husband and my 14 month old son. I do a lot of portrait photography but need tips on doing it at the beach since I have not been there in so long. I wont be able to download the images til we get back, so I dont want to ruin them.

    Any tips on exposure (since there is sand, ocean reflection, ect). Is there a rule on over or under exposing when sand is involved with portraits? Should I spot meter the face? Anything to keep in mind that I may not think of? What about sand and my camera and tripod or the heat with my camera and memory cards. It will be in the high 80's? Anyone with good experience with beach photo sessions- I need you!!

    Rhonda
     
  2. pandinus

    pandinus TPF Noob!

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    I'd use a reflector. It might give better lighting to the faces.

    Best of luck, and have a lovely trip.
     
  3. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Get up early, and shoot with morning light, or stick around for sunset. The light is much more directional, and will give you much better modeling. The reflector suggestion is also a great one. If you don't have one already, pick up a nice 30 to 40 inch silver/white reflector.

    http://www.adorama.com/JTFR36SW.html

    Sand will probably reflect some light back at your subjects, but as long as you are metering for the faces, you'll be fine. Sand can get into your equipment, so it is important to keep things as sand free as possible. I'd make sure and have UV filters on all my lenses, and keep my camera bag closed when I'm not using it.
     
  4. stellar_gal

    stellar_gal TPF Noob!

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    Thanks to you both. I do have a reflector (silver/gold) and plan to use it when I can. My son is f-a-s-t! I do have UV filters for most of my lenses. I think I will bring a pillow case along, in case I need to change lenses on the beach. I do plan on photographing near sunset 7:30ish- just have to drive around and find a beach that doesnt close at 6pm. May need to get 'off road'.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Mesoam

    Mesoam TPF Noob!

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    Time of day is most important at the beach as stated, afternoon (late) or early is definately best...
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually the reflector is less important on a beach than anywhere else. Afterall it's the sand that makes a natural reflector.

    The biggest problem you will have is racoon eyes and loads of squinting.
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Also look out for darkness and shadows around the eyes such as in Garbz avatar (-)

    skieur
     
  8. Keith Gebhardt

    Keith Gebhardt TPF Noob!

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    use low iso.. and make sure white balance is set corectly to reduce your orange/gold images somtimes you get from sand,

    about reflector.. good idea, but flashes might be easier... they work pretty good.
     
  9. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get acquainted with your spot meter (center weighted if you don't have one) and practice fill flash if you are unfamiliar with it. A deflector or diffuser would be appropriate as well. Since (I'm guessing) this will be a vacation, the flash would be the most important piece of hardware unless you just want to keep up with a ton of equipment.
     
  10. amateursnapper

    amateursnapper TPF Noob!

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    As mentioned above, one of the best things is to avoid the harsh midday sun. That'll eliminate problems like squinting and extreme contrast, and will help you get your metering spot on.

    I also agree with spot metering for the face; after all that's the part that you want properly exposed, but also experiment with shooting direction to see if you can get the background well exposed too.

    Fill-in flash should be sufficient rather than a reflector, but if you've already got one then I guess you might as well take it along anyway!

    One final thing that isn't at all technical but might be handy is take some of your son's favourite toys along, then wave them near the camera to get him looking in the right direction and smiling!

    Hope you have a great trip.

    Pete
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I was waiting for someone to mention that. The great thing about fill flash is that you can use the pop up one, so you won't have to carry a giant reflector and if done right, the onboard wouldn't look half-bad.
     
  12. stellar_gal

    stellar_gal TPF Noob!

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    I plan to take the photos near sunset, since we probably won't be out at sunrise. I will use the pop up flash if I need to also. I rarely use flash since I do natural light portraits anyway, but will do what I need to to avoid those aweful shadows you mentioned.

    I am trying to think of some toy- homemade light weight- that I can mount on the tripod or lens that my soon will look at when we set up the self timer. I was thinking of tying a small red balloon on to it with some pipe cleaners for a temporary hold, since he likes balloons. The rest will have to be photojournalistic type and not so posed.

    I am taking lots of memory and always shoot RAW, but will set the white balance accordingly anyway. Last night I was trying to figure out how to do several burst when we use the timer, so we can get a few shots at a time. My 30D doesnt have that burst feature like my old P&S, but I decided to bracket in 1/3 stops, set to manual and one shot mode so it stays in focus. That way I can get 3 different shots without having to keep running back and forth. I can adjust such a small different in PS. Sometimes it pays to think hard ahead of time!

    Other that that, thank you all for your suggestions. Now, how do I get the dog to behave in the car for 6 hours... LOL- just kidding! Thanks again

    Rhonda
     

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