Who doesn’t like shooting at the beach during sunset? Unfortunately, it’s not a easy task. Shooting strong back light at open area is quite challenging and beach sunset fall in this category 100%. There are at least 2 major problems you have to deal with. First the high dynamic range. Getting a properly exposed sunset photo is challenging enough, let alone adding a model and make sure she’s properly lit with the strobe. Second, with no shadow area to “hide”, the model will be constantly under the sunlight which means you have to be careful with harsh shadows and hot spots. But, once these issues get dealt with, the result is so much better. It’s just worth all your effort.

This time I back to Iona beach again. I love this place so much. My next portrait lighting workshop will be held here. I did a shoot here last year, pretty happy with the result, but it’s near the end of the summer and the weather was cloudy. This time the weather was really good. Sunny day  with some cloud and bit windy. We started around 2 hours before sunset, walked around 15 minutes alone the shoreline till we we can bare see any people. Facing the sun, over my right hand side, I got some nice logs lying on the sand surrounded by some tall grass, over my left, is this untouched sandy beach exposed from the low tide. This is not just a place where you want to do photo shoot. It’s also a place you want to sit down and have a picnic. Summer time in Vancouver is just so lovely.

My weapons of choice today is Profoto B2 with Profoto OCF 2×3′ softbox. The camera is trusted Nikon D810. I was thinking bring 2 lenses but  decided just take one. Either Sigma 35 Art or Sigma 50 Art. I picked 50 because I want a bit more lens blur and shooting space is no concern for me this time.

Kati brought a lot of outfits for me to pick and that black gown quickly took my attention. It’s silky one, elegant and sexy. Works perfectly on a windy day (remember I said it was a bit windy that day?).

1/800s F1.4 ISO 31

1/640s F1.4 ISO31

Change to a different outfit and try different angle. This time lots of bright sky in the frame. Definitely needs more power. I was a bit concerned with my 250ws strobe because I was using a larger modifier with inner and front diffusing panel. End up my Profoto B2 handled it pretty well. Still shooting l stop lower than the maximum power.

1/1250s F1.8 ISO 31

The sandy beach is so nice it’ll be a crime not shooting it. In order to leave no foot print in the picture. Kati literally jumped into my frame.

1/1000s F1.4 ISO40

My first try shooting with logs is not bad, but I think I can do better, gonna utilized those tall grasses as well.

1/1000s F1.4 ISO 40
1/800s F1.4 ISO 40

The time is flying, the sun is getting closer and closer to the horizon. The next 10-15 minutes will be the golden minutes. I was kind of in a panic of finding my last shooting spot, eventually, I found it.  A log lying on a slight upward angle. It has smooth surface so Kati can comfortably lie down on it, with the setting sun just above her. I told Kati to close her eyes which for me is a perfect fit for the mood of this shot and there we go, here is the shot we got.

1/500s F1.4 ISO31

The lighting is so perfect, just don’t want let it wasted. How about a close up one?

If you want to learn how to shoot sunset portrait and how to deal with strong back lighting, my next workshop in Vancouver will help you a lot. If you want to learn even more and have the workshop more customized your way. My one on one workshop will be the best option for you. I’ll walk through my work flow step by step and we’ll do a lot of hands practice with some gorgeous models. You will master how to get the perfect shot right on your camera with almost zero editing.