Erik Valind is a freelance photographer, born and raised on the Florida beaches, now living in New York City. Specializing in commercial lifestyle photography and environmental portraiture. Join Erik behind the scenes on a recent shoot in the Bahamas.
For some shoots we can get away with packing lightly. Yet other days, when the sun’s bright we need to bring the light ourselves, and in a big way. Recently we had just such a scenario down in the blaring Bahamian sunshine while teaching at the Fstoppers Workshop on the grounds of the Atlantis Resort. With the goal of creating an edgy sports portrait of our model swimmer, we had to overcome harsh high noon light, and were able to do so with the Broncolor Move Kit and some specific modifiers. Here’s how we did it!
When we first got to the location this is what we were presented with: harsh light and deep unflattering shadows, but there were plenty of vivid blues and greens to work with. Over exposed as the scene was, those colors weren’t singing just yet. To really capture the vibrancy of the location we needed to underexpose this ambient environment straightaway. To get there we landed on an exposure of f/16 ISO 100 and 1/200 sec.
With this exposure our model was now slightly underexposed too, so we had to start breaking out the lights of our own to build her back up. At 1200ws of power the battery powered Broncolor Move pack has plenty of light to overpower the sun even at high noon as we found ourselves that day. You still want to be as efficient as possible with your light on bright days, to maximize the life of your batteries. With that in a mind we used a Beauty Dish with no diffusion material to modify the key light illuminating the subject. This light was placed close to the subject, within 2-3ft, so we didn’t need to turn up the intensity very much to get the right exposure.
This gave us a great starting image, but to really have our subject pop out of the image we needed to add rim lights. The problem we faced was the width of the pool. To get the lights to the side and behind our subject they would have to be placed on either side of the pool. This put them 15-20ft away. That’s a long way for light to travel while still being intense enough to give us an exposure of f/16 or f/22… we would need to be even more efficient when modifying these lights.
This is where the P50 long throw reflectors really shine! With a long narrow shape and a high output silver interior they focus light into a 50-degree beam that we carefully directed at our model. After setting the power on each side individually we flipped all three lights on and were ready to shoot! You’ll notice in the BTS photos a silver reflective materiel on the ground underneath me. We added this for a bit of fill light and some extra secularity (shiny reflections) in the drops of water on the swimmers skin.
The neat thing about a workshop setting like this is that you really get to see how gear performs when pushed beyond the limits of a normal shooting scenario. After I got the shots I wanted, four more people got to tweak the lighting setup and shoot to their hearts content as well. Easily keeping up with a trigger happy group of photographers, our efficient selection of modifiers and the high output of the Move pack left us with plenty of battery power in the end. This freed us to move onto the next setup of the day without needing to stop and recharge.