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Seaside Bridesmaids

Here is a shot I took at a recent wedding. All I can say is that I was in the right place at the right time with the wrong camera.

I had only just received my 40x40cm soft box a few days before this wedding and I was keen to put it into action with one of my 550ex flashes inside.

I set up a light stick which consisted of a 550ex flash set to 1/4 power, a Yongnuo 602 trigger and a monopod.

I discovered the following:

  • 1: Don’t hold the soft box too close to the subject
  • 2: Hold the end of the monopod at arms length so the light is coming down from up high
  • 3: I can’t wait for some cheap ttl radio triggers to be released!

I had only just finished photographing the cutting of the cake, the light was dropping and the batteries on my 5dmk2 had just run out, the spares were in my kit bag which was in the restaurant and everyone was on the beach, so I swapped my 28-70 lens onto the 40D body .

At this point my whole world fell apart and I wanted to scream out: I HATE APSC CAMERAS!!!!!!!!!!!

I had the image in my mind but suddenly my 28mm wide end was not 28mm any more it was 44.8mm equivalent!!!! I’m covered in sweat and lying on the sand. To get the field of view I had to crawl like a giant slug along the sand to get a wider angle of view, which meant I got covered in even more sand all the while trying not to get any sand on my hands or camera.

As everyone one knows sand+camera=problems.

Anyway I’m in position, and my assistant is holding the light stick behind me and up high. In order to adjust power of the flash all I did was instruct my assistant to move backwards or forwards untill the exposure was correct. All I did was press the shutter button a few times until I knew I had a winner!


Exif tells me: f5 – 1/250sec – iso 1000 – focal length 33mm

The key factor in all these photos was that they were taking during or shortly after sunset. The window of opportunity lasted about half an hour before we lost the light.

The flash had a CTO gel on it (CTO= Colour Temperature Orange, gel= transparent bit of coloured plastic that goes across the front to the flash.) this made the light coming from the flash a bit yellow/orange.

I wanted it this way for the following reason:

  1. White balance is adjusted from blue to yellow.
  2. If the whites of the girl’s dress is a bit yellow you need to add more blue to compensate.
  3. Adding more blue will make the sky & sea more saturated!!!

You could just adjust the individual colour saturation later in Photoshop, but I prefer using coloured gels because I feel its better to get thing right in camera than spend time messing around in Photoshop.

The following day we had a quick session with the family on a nearby coastline. Two 40x40cm soft boxes were used. We managed to capture the sunset and have a bit of fun.




The shot below had 1 flash held camera right and one flash just behind the young lady on her left side. Flashes were at 1/4 power and the camera was set on manual and metered for the ambient.






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