Models, Modeling, and Model Photography

Models, Modeling, and
Model Photography

How to set up beach lighting


There are different ways to set up beach lighting
- Natural light - High noon (part 1)
The super majority of photographers avoid high noon shoots.  That's why you don't see them during the bright day time,
You can use the high noon light if you know the lighting basics.  One key light (the sun) and then the camera angle.
If you think the shadow is too intense, you can add a fill light either with a reflector (a second person usually) or a fill flash (on a stand) or locate a spot where you can find reflective fill light such as white sand, bright rocks, or white walls, or other reflective texture.
The light will be too strong for the model to face, then she can (1) wear a sunglasses, (2) look away (3) close her eyes (4) use hand or prop to shade her eyes
- Natural light - High noon (part 2)
Popular in the swimsuit photography world when working with a team is that you can have a person to hold a scrim to reduce the light on the model.  This way the subject is well lit with nice fill.

An alternative way is to have the model situate in a shadowed area, such as a tree, or a back side of a rock or similar.  

- Natural light - Morning / Evening
This is the most popular way to do swimsuit and beach glamour photography.  The beautiful sunset can be used both as the direct key light or as the back light to create a soft look.
When it's used as back light, it would be a good practice to have a contrasting (usually darker) background so that the halo of the hair stands out instead of burned out into the bright sunset...
- Natural light - Blue hours
I use a flash and long exposure to create unique looks that includes both the background and the subject.
You can even play with gels to create different styles of color combinations

- Natural light - overcast 
Overcast is good and bad for the beach photo shoot.  The good thing is that it's super soft and almost no shadow which is very flattering.  The bad is that it's a very washed out look that tonal change is much less and usually need an artificial light for the key light or a post process to aid the separation of the subject and background.  Also the colors usually are muddy than the bright sun light, turning everything into grayish mood.

- Artificial lighting - Morning / Evening
With the sunset (or sunrise) light in the back, sometimes the subject is not lit well, and needs an aid of artificial light.  
As the same principles of light quality, you can use the bare flash light, or added with a light modifier (umbrella, softbox,...), or a reflector, or whatever you consider your style of lighting
- Artificial lighting - Night 
At night, there is something totally different happening at the beach scenery.  There may be campfire, or carnival on the piers, or something that create a thematic element to the photos
Also with beach properties such as lifeguard tower or palm trees, or finesse, you can use flash light to back light and create their signature beach theme settings

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