A few months ago we did a sunset photoshoot down in south Maui with model/actress Dani Jae. Dani was a lot of fun to work with and her wide range of expressions and movement gave us a nice variety of looks by the end of the evening.
The lighting was kept relatively simple for this shoot - we mainly used a silver California Sunbounce Pro to work with the existing light. Later on for sunset we switched to a single AB800 with a 7" reflector powered by a Vagabond Mini Lithium Battery pack. Triggering was done via PocketWizard MiniTT1 with the AC3 ZoneController and PocketWizard FlexTT5 with the AC9 AlienBees Adapter. This allowed us to remotely control the power level of the AB800 from the camera.
We started off with some basic headshots. As we were walking down the pathway to the beach, Dani laughed as I suddenly stuck my head into the branches of some trees. While I probably appeared slightly insane to her (and a lot of models that have worked with me probably think the same way), what I was looking for was a spot where I could use branches in the foreground of the shot and use the sun to backlight both the model and the branches in the foreground.
We positioned Dani in between the trees and had her escort Ryan bring the Sunbounce in close for her main light. I first tried shooting this with the 85mm f1.2, but it blurred out the branches a bit too much. Switching to the 70-200 f2.8 helped define the foreground branches better.
I really liked how the sun lit up her hair from behind in combination with the quality of light that the Sunbounce produced and it was a bonus to have a great assistant like Ryan to help us out by holding the reflector in whichever position we needed it.
We also tried a few shots on a nearby bunker. As the sun got lower in the sky, it was getting obscured by the trees, so we had little pools of sunlight to work with. By positioning Dani in certain spots, we were able to get sunlight to fall only on her hair.
Next Dani changed up her look and we shot against the side of the bunker.
We then headed down to the beach as it was getting close to sunset. We did a few final shots with the Sunbounce before switching to the strobe. To get enough light on her, Ryan had to hold the reflector really close - just out of the left side of the frame in this shot.
While waiting for the sun to get lower, we tried a few jumping shots. The sun was still relatively bright so in order to stay within the camera's flash sync speed of 1/160, had to bring the iris down to f16 and power up the flash to full power. Something I need to experiment with next time is using an ND filter so that I can shoot at a wider aperture.
As the sun got lower, the colors really started to pop.
These last few on the beach I wanted to get more sky in the shot, but could not get low enough because of the way the beach sloped down to the water. Maybe next time I'll try digging a hole to jump into.
Our last setup was at the showers near the beach park entrance. Shooting flowing water using strobes is something that I've been wanting to do for a while, and this was a nice opportunity to try out some ideas.
The main light was a Canon 580EX II with a Gary Fong Lightsphere. We backlit the water with a Nikon SB26 and a blue gel.
Would have liked to experiment further with adding one or two additional lights, but it was getting late and our model was pretty soggy by then. Didn't want to push it too far and have her possibly catch a cold. Always be mindful of what you are putting your model through during a shoot. You don't want to put her through hell.