Sunrise bikini beach shoot - settings?

Foxtrot_01

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Hello all,
I'm doing a bikini beach shoot early during sunrise and I wanted to get some advice on camera / flash settings. I'm using a Godox octabox 37.5 with a Yongnuo YN560 Speedlite to light the model and have the option of using a grid with the octabox and a polarizer filter. Using a Canon L series 70-200mm f2.8 on a Canon 5D Mark II.

Any advice is much appreciated.
 

Derrel

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Light levels will change very quickly as the sun rises. If your camera can do high-speed synch, that would allow you more shutter speed/aperture flexibility.
 

Soocom1

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Before you do, with ANY setup, shoot a few days before some practice shots. Ive done on the spot shooting before with little set up time, and blown it.

know what your in for first before you shoot it up.

Lens flare is one of the biggies.
 

JBPhotog

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The YN560 will not do HSS as it only has the single hot shoe pin so your are limited to maximum sync speed of the camera.

As @Soocom1 stated, do some testing so you know the range of exposures with your combo. My suspicion is the YN560 will be maxed out with such a large modifier and you will be limited with the shutter speed even if you turn up the ISO for better flash exposure. The use of a polarizer will further complicate flash output. Additionally, keep your modifier as close as possible for softer light and reducing the power output for better recycle times. Test, test, test is the name of the game.
 

Derrel

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Make sure your lens front element and rear elements are clean....shooting into a low sun can cause weird streaky flares if the lens is not spotless.
 

Derrel

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You might need or want to "drag the shutter" depending on the desired effect/conditions.
 

Space Face

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I can't help with your settings and I'm not a portrait tog. However I am looking forward to seeing the results:greendevil:
 

smoke665

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My two cents worth. Beaches are notoriously windy, a modifier of any size is going to be a giant kite waiting to launch. I have a YN560 I use occasionally outside, as JB mentioned above you'll really cut your output in a softbox. Instead if the wind isn't to bad, I'd use a 42" white reflective umbrella on a stand, and a lot of sand bags to stabilize it. If the wind is really up ditch the umbrella and go with a 4x5 modifier on the flash like this. You aren't really looking to light the subject, just fill in the shadows on the subject.
prod_16436569436.jpg You have two different exposures to contend with, the "ambient light" will be the main light, and the "flash" provides the fill. As Derrel mentioned you may have to slow down or "Drag the shutter" to get a good exposure overall.

If you have a meter, then take a reflective reading of the light in the background, that's your camera setting. Then set the meter to incident, place it under the subject's chin and adjust the power on your flash till it reads at or slightly above the ambient (depending on your preference). If you don't have a meter use your camera meter to set your scene exposure average for the ambient background light, then turn it 1-2 stops below, the indicated setting. You shouldn't have to take more then a couple test shots with the flash to dial in the power for the fill.

Lastly mixing flash with one color temperature with ambient light of another color temperature requires the addition of a CTB or CTO gel, and a WB shift in your camera settings to make them match. Here's a good reference How to Use CTO and CTB Gels to Change the Color of Your Background
 
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Mike Drone

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I would like to see some pre-scouting shots so as to compare to the shoot and see the difference in changes. =]
 

Derrel

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We all just wanna see some bikini sunrise shots...let's be honest here.
 

Derrel

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A C Stand, which is quite heavy at the base, is better than a conventional stand for use in the wind.A metal beauty dish or metal parabolic catches less wind than any umbrella or box.
 
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JoeW

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Okay, a couple of thoughts.

First, there is a lot of great advice in here that I completely agree with and matches my experience. Yes, lighting conditions change QUICKLY. The best shoots are ones where people convene before sunrise. Despite the weather where you are, that means it can be downright chilly before sunrise on the beach with a stiff wind. And yes, your soft box/umbrella/reflector will become a sail--I lost a reflector at Washington Gardens beach in Florida and an umbrella on the Outer Banks on shoots. Sandbags (or large water bottles) are your friend. And yes, lens flare can be a BFD. And I'm serious--planning on being there BEFORE sunrise to set up, discuss shoot sequence, etc. Going at 9:30am is bad--too much glare and too little shoot time left.

Second, don't plan on swapping out lens. Bring multiple bodies. Do NOT plan on swapping out lens on a beach. Even on still days you'll get a quick breeze on the beach and you've got sand inside your camera. An even bigger issue is people sweat. And that means sand sticks to you. And that means it gets everywhere (including lens and bodies and gear).

Third, bring two big beach towels. You hold them together (with you or an assistant holding the upper corners) and the model in-between them, and they're an impromptu changing room on the beach for your model. Yeah, I know, you're thinking she can always run behind a sand dune and change. But that usually turns out not being as private as you expect--especially in the morning. And especially if you're shooting under a pier or someplace that attracts a crowd, heading off the beach to the restrooms or car to change is a huge time suck--especially with the sun rising.

Fourth, depending upon the location I'd bring bug spray. I did one shoot that the model ended up with bites from sand fleas. And bring water--lots of water. It's your weight for your soft box, you'll drink it, and if the ocean water is too cold to get in to, you'll dump it on the model for a "wet look" at times.

Fifth, sequence your shoot. It's kind of like shooting in the snow. You find a great location, have the model hopping around and now you've got a bunch of footprints and disturbed sand that won't look as good for shots of her reclining languidly in the sand. Or you get her wet in the surf and now sand will stick to her and even when she changes suits, she'll have a "wet look" with her hair. So think through your shot sequence. That's part of the reason you get there early.

Last of all, settings. Half the time, I found using my popup flash to be most effective (especially if I was close) and just ditched my speed lights. You'll find that if you're moving around (model silhouetted, then sun at your back) you're adjusting constantly. The IDEAL setting would be a big gazebo or tent with light fabric to modify and soften the sun--that gives you a constant light, a softer light, and you're not adjusting continuously depending upon the angle. As for a polarizing filter--I'm torn. It might give you some pop in the sky (so it's not all blowout) but I've also gotten some lovely results of glare on the water.
 
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Foxtrot_01

Foxtrot_01

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Okay, a couple of thoughts.

First, there is a lot of great advice in here that I completely agree with and matches my experience. Yes, lighting conditions change QUICKLY. The best shoots are ones where people convene before sunrise. Despite the weather where you are, that means it can be downright chilly before sunrise on the beach with a stiff wind. And yes, your soft box/umbrella/reflector will become a sail--I lost a reflector at Washington Gardens beach in Florida and an umbrella on the Outer Banks on shoots. Sandbags (or large water bottles) are your friend. And yes, lens flare can be a BFD. And I'm serious--planning on being there BEFORE sunrise to set up, discuss shoot sequence, etc. Going at 9:30am is bad--too much glare and too little shoot time left.

Second, don't plan on swapping out lens. Bring multiple bodies. Do NOT plan on swapping out lens on a beach. Even on still days you'll get a quick breeze on the beach and you've got sand inside your camera. An even bigger issue is people sweat. And that means sand sticks to you. And that means it gets everywhere (including lens and bodies and gear).

Third, bring two big beach towels. You hold them together (with you or an assistant holding the upper corners) and the model in-between them, and they're an impromptu changing room on the beach for your model. Yeah, I know, you're thinking she can always run behind a sand dune and change. But that usually turns out not being as private as you expect--especially in the morning. And especially if you're shooting under a pier or someplace that attracts a crowd, heading off the beach to the restrooms or car to change is a huge time suck--especially with the sun rising.

Fourth, depending upon the location I'd bring bug spray. I did one shoot that the model ended up with bites from sand fleas. And bring water--lots of water. It's your weight for your soft box, you'll drink it, and if the ocean water is too cold to get in to, you'll dump it on the model for a "wet look" at times.

Fifth, sequence your shoot. It's kind of like shooting in the snow. You find a great location, have the model hopping around and now you've got a bunch of footprints and disturbed sand that won't look as good for shots of her reclining languidly in the sand. Or you get her wet in the surf and now sand will stick to her and even when she changes suits, she'll have a "wet look" with her hair. So think through your shot sequence. That's part of the reason you get there early.

Last of all, settings. Half the time, I found using my popup flash to be most effective (especially if I was close) and just ditched my speed lights. You'll find that if you're moving around (model silhouetted, then sun at your back) you're adjusting constantly. The IDEAL setting would be a big gazebo or tent with light fabric to modify and soften the sun--that gives you a constant light, a softer light, and you're not adjusting continuously depending upon the angle. As for a polarizing filter--I'm torn. It might give you some pop in the skill (so it's not all blowout) but I've also gotten some lovely results of glare on the water.
Great advice from all of you. Yes our plan is to be there 6:00-6:15am, sunrise is at 6:40am. I might take also my 24-70mm f2.8L.I have planned for sandbags for the stand.
My 5D mk II doesn't have pop up flash. I probably should invest on a portable strobe, by now I have like 6 monolights and none of them are portable.
 

JoeW

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You might want to consider a Lume Cube. Waterproof, sand-proof, very portable.
 
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