The shot: Canzone della Sirena
This series is part of a fashion editorial shot from morning to sunset.
Canon 1000D and 50mm f/1.8 lens
This was a 12-13 hour location shoot, using the sun as a primary light source. I had my camera, a 50mm lens, and a fabulous team.
Looking for the right location required at least a day of prep, driving from beach to beach. I wanted sand and a clear ocean view, which is rather difficult near Melbourne. Shooting on location required some planning–moving the team, the clothes and makeup equipment, making sure everything was mobile and could be protected from the heat/sand/wind. Bringing large blankets and a car certainly helped.
There was a deliberate shift in the mood of the images according to the light. It starts off bright and soft and ends up with something more sultry. We had to pay close attention to where the sun was hitting in order to get the best look, tweaking camera settings accordingly (mainly the aperture). Occasionally we had to wait for the clouds to get out of the way. Thankfully it wasn’t raining, which in the past put a damper on our shoots.
This image is a fairly straightforward portrait. It was late morning and the sun was strong and fairly high up, so adding the hat gave a dappled effect on the face. The challenge here was exposing the face correctly–we wanted to be able to see her skin and makeup, as that was the focus of this shot. The white garment ended up slightly overexposed. I would have liked to have added a reflector just under the chin facing up. This was shot at F/5, 1/640, ISO 200.
We wanted something with high contrast, playing with the light and shadow. This was mid-late afternoon, and the sun is lower in the sky to the right. The challenge here was placing the model in the right place. I initially had the sun to her back but that made the details in her garment and accessories too dark. I shifted her sideways and the stones under the water gave a brown/copper background which complemented and set off the model’s skin tone. This was shot at F/5, 1/1600, ISO 200.
This shot was taken close to image two and shows a difference in effect just by moving the model. She is now facing the light. It was also shot at F/5, 1/1600, ISO 200.
This shot was taken near the end of the day, at around 8:30p.m. The sun was setting over the horizon and we are losing light fast. We originally wanted a shot of the model in the water but the temperature had also dropped drastically. We didn’t want to give her pneumonia. Instead we decided to end with a roll in the sand, with the direction to “be Kate Moss.” I was actually seated on top of a meter high ledge shooting downwards. And, this was shot at F/5, 1/640, ISO 200.
Tips and tricks
- Use the light. The great thing about natural light is that it changes all the time. Within one shoot you are able to get many different looks.
- Use the location. Being outdoors means different backgrounds and props. Use your location as a set up. I directed the model to climb up the cliff, to go into the water, to sit on rocks. I also used ledges to shift my own perspective.
- Use sunscreen. Take care to protect against the environment whether it’s sun, rain or snow. There is nothing worse than getting heatstroke or sunburns at the end of the day.
- Brings snacks and a positive attitude. A long shoot day often means tired, grumpy and overworked team members. Take frequent rest breaks, eat snacks and enjoy the outdoors!