White fashion photography on the beach

The reflector really gives a lot of light. Perfect for outdoor fashion photography.
Lighting diagram for outdoor fashion photography, using a single reflector.

Norwegian photographer Eivind Røhne tells us about about this fashion photography lighting:

As a fashion photographer shooting a lot of stuff outdoors, I often prefer to use the soft light in the shadows. And my clients as well. Then we shape and tweak the light to get it how we want it to look. We use reflectors, speedlights or mobile studio lighting kits. Or maybe all of them. But sometimes we want a different look and feel to the fashion photographs we make.

This fashion magazine client of mine often likes to have a white clothing series in their editorials every year. And this white stuff we like to do in direct sunlight. This time it was on a beach in Sardegna/Sardinia in Italy. We shot a complete editorial quite fast during what usually is considered lunch time; harsh sunlight with lots of shadows. Fortunately we didn’t have a clear blue sky, but we got some clouds that gave us a little bit of texture in the background.

I immediately saw that this could be a cool before and after picture because of the tremendous effect of the reflector. So I asked the editor of the magazine, Mary-Ann – also known as “The Grey Card Lady”, to just tilt the reflector away on one of the shots. She’s a wonderful lady, and did what I asked without asking why, and then we kept on shooting. She was holding a 1×2 meter California Sunbounce half silver/gold reflector a couple of meters away from the model, directing the harsh sunlight back towards the model. And as you can see, a reflector this size can literally light up the whole place. The light was so intense that even the professional model had a hard time looking in its direction for too long without short breaks.

I had taken a few test shots as well as a reading with my Sekonic handheld meter, to get the exposure right so that I would still have some texture in the sky, and a perfect exposure on the models skin and white clothes. Being careful not to lose those whites! Both of these shots here where shot at f/8 and 1/100 second and ISO 50 on a medium format digital Hasselblad with a 210mm lens.

Amazing what a single reflector can do to light up your life!


2 thoughts on “White fashion photography on the beach”

  1. Hi Petter,

    The reflector is about 1 meter directly to my left, and we’re both some distance from the model (210mm lens on medium format and a full length picture). By moving the reflector a bit further back like this, we got a nice spread of light on the surroundings close to the model as well.

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