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IMO a beach portrait with minimal equipment should automatically exclude using a flash
To make the flash get in balance with the availible light will demand of camera flash, triggers, careful metering etc. while from a picturewise point of view, the risk of too much flash and thus burning out the 'normal' light is more then just imaginary.
My set up would be just a camera, a longish lens and a simple white reflector, as the reflection/fill of gold and/or silver one will very easily be too hard
You mention a simple white reflector ...
A white reflector will generate a fill with a stop or so less light and the fill light will be approximately the same color as the BG (warm) or sky (cool) light it is reflecting depending on orientation.
Using a flash set to -1 1/3 will proved a similar amount of fill light and can be easier to manage than handling a reflector. Of course, the reflector will let you "see" your fill, but it comes at a the price of "handling" encumbrance, where as the flash can be mounted (on or off axis) with the camera.
As to the color difference, if the reduced power setting isn't enough for your taste @ color balance, a warming gel can easily get your closer. I just find that without an assistant I prefer the freedom of movement the flash provides vs. trying to manage both camera & reflector. If he's got an extra set of hands that could make a difference.
I guess it would help if the OP could clarify if he is planning on shooting more formal outdoor studio style portraiture or informal PJ mobility style. That could have significant bearing on how to approach his "minimal" equipment.
I could see flash with an "on flash" bounce card & gel ... set to -1 1/3 ... pretty simple and very mobile for spontaneity. Or no gel and raise your WB a bit above that of electronic flash (which will intensify your bg warmth and put a slight warmth @ subject.
Very subjective correlated to your goals. Several ways to skin this cat ... but pre-testing is sage.
I'm a bit curious @ the "longish lens" (farther from subjects) and reflector (closer to subjects) combination strategy ... can you clarify how you'll be managing the two (assistant, stand, tripod, remote, timer, etc.)?
Edited on Jul 08, 2012 at 02:42 PM · View previous versions