Beach photos for a friend - couple of questions

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Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 621
Beach photos for a friend - couple of questions

Ok. First, I am very flattered that my friends think I take "awesome" photos. I look at them and think "ick, there is soooo much to learn and so much to practice on" I've seriously had 4-5 people offer to pay me money to take photos of their families. Which, again, flattering, but how do I tell them in a few words that the "good" photos they see are just the better ones out of the hundreds I take?

I'm finally getting out to the beach to take some photos of a friend's twins (3 months old). First of all - direct sun? what? Don't they know I need some shade somewhere? Smile I did tell them that we needed to be there either really early or really late. They opted for morning. So sure, I won't have the harsh light, but how do I combat the direct sun? I do have a "reflector" - white thick cardboard to help bounce light in their faces, but what other tips to I need?

And getting back to the people who keep asking me to take their photos...I don't feel I'm ready to start PB'ing, so how do I go about it? Do I just tell them that I can't promise anything? I really don't know even how to approach it.

Thanks ladies Smile

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

That is awesome that people are asking for you to take their photos. I think it is great practice! I would just start out with telling them that you are only skill building at the moment and you can't promise them professional results but you can maybe try to come up with at least 20 photos for them to browse through. They will understand. And if you don't want to accept money then it is definitely ok to do it for free. Smile As for direct sun. Reflector is nice. Do you have a speed light? Fill flash could work too. Make sure they aren't facing the sun because then they'll probably squint their eyes too much. good luck!

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6187

No help for the sun. I struggle with it here, but just do my best to find a good shaded area.

As for starting to take pics for others, I agree, don't overwork yourself, I find myself doing that. Just start out taking a few and showing a few. Don't overdo it. KUP okay?

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3422

First off ... Don't be too hard on yourself! If people like what you're doing, then you're off to a good start! I think we all struggle a bit with self confidence, or at least, a lot of us do. Wink

I would be quite frank and let them know that it sometimes takes 100s of shots to get the few you like. Just explain that you are learning and if they want to help you grow, that you appreciate it. If you are not ready to accept $$, then think about some kind of barter system. Trade baby sitting or something like that. In that way your friends don't feel like they are taking advantage of you and you don't have to feel the pressure of 'paying clients' while still in learning mode.

I'm no help at beach shots b/c I've never done anything like that. But i'm sure you'll do fine. There is SUPPOSED to be harsh sun at the beach. Maybe look through flickr, etc for some ideas in ways to use the light that is there. I know Gwen is particularly good at sun flares, etc. so you might check her blog for ideas too.

bottom line ... relax and enjoy the fact that you'll have lots of practice coming your way. :+)


Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 621

Thanks everyone! No speed light so we'll just take what we can get with positioning and a reflector. Nervous, but thankfully she's a good friend and doesn't expect professional images Smile

La123's picture
Joined: 04/11/08
Posts: 815

I agree with what everyone else is saying. Take the opportunity to build your skills, when you have the time. For shooting at the beach my advice would be to use your reflector if you need to, but if the sun is really bright and you use your reflector on the silver side, you could end up with some super glowy weird looking people (I've made this mistake a few times). The white side would be better when your already dealing with strong sunlight. If its cloudy, the silver would most likely be fine. Usually when I am backlighting, I don't even use the reflector (cause I have no stand, or assistant;)) I just underexpose a bit, so the hair only gets a little blown, then use the adjustment brush in ACR to bring up the exposure on the skin and anything else that needs it. This is just what has worked for me in the past. Good luck on your shoot, and don't forget to share when your done!

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

how early are you going? cause you need to go REALLY early to avoid the crazy harsh shadows. like 7am might be good.

wish I had a beach to photograph on!

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

I'm guessing that since your from GA you'll be on the east coast. One thing to remember is that the sun rises in the East, so you're going to be in direct sun light no matter what. I'm not sure what advice to give, because I haven't shot at the beach yet, but I wish you good luck!! After you do this, come back because I've got engagement photos coming up on October on the Outer Banks of NC.

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Lucky you, Jennifer! Smile that is our favorite vacation spot but we weren't able to go this year Sad

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

The nice thing about the beach is that in the right conditions the sand can act as a reflector.

Just remember....backlighting is your friend. Underexpose slightly to give you flexitility in RAW processing.