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| p.2 #2 · Beach portraits with minimal equipment.... |
Sorry @ no pics of sunsets & people any more ... that was back in my slide film days that I did people as such ... back when I lived in San Diego, CA. My camera likely hasn't seen a beach sunset portrait this millennium. Of course, the sun, sky & beach haven't changed too much since then.
The key for me to keeping the "flash look" out of the equation was the combined -1/3 stop @ camera so the ambient + flash had a natural look to it, yet yielded rich colors.
My rig back then was simply a Nikon FE, 75-150/3.5 and a shoe-mount flash (auto). Obviously, no TTL / ETTL with the camera / flash "talking" to each other back then. I just ran a series of test shots @ 1/3 stop increments to get the relationship between ambient exposure and flash exposure the way I liked it. From then on, I knew what to expect out of my gear. No tripod, no reflector, no assistant, no stand, no gel ... about as unencumbered as I could imagine.
It afforded me great flexibility / mobility / perspective. The thing that I keyed into here was the "minimal" equipment on the beach, suggesting constant change @ both location & ambient as the sun works its way down.
One nice thing about using the flash ... as the sun goes down (i.e. weaker), you aren't as dependent upon it for the reflected light @ your subject.
Part of the "look" for me is the blend between the contrast of specular light (100% direct flash) and the low-contrast of backlit / skylit ambient only. By augmenting with fill flash @ reduced power, you can achieve a "blended" amount of lighting contrast @ your subject. This is where the 1/3 stop test increments comes in to play to decide what your style / taste @ contrast level is for mixing ambient & flash.
IMO, it is the contrast differential between subject and BG that gives it that "flash" look (in addition to illumination variance). Knocking that down (reflector, reduced power flash, bounce, shoot through umbrella, softbox, etc.) so the contrast levels are closer (not exact) is key. Your choice of tools to @ how to achieve it as well as "how much".
The way I see it there are three issues to contend with regarding the variance @ subject vs. background @ such type shots:
Lighting Illumination / Exposure
Lighting Color Temp
Figuring out your approach to contending with these three is matter of style & preference. Again, more than one way to skin the cat. I was just curious.