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Photography Question 
Trudy Hite

Portrait Photography at the Beach

I am having a terrible time getting good beach photos without people squinting. Because we live in the south, even the morning and evening sun this time of year is harsh. I read putting the light behind the subject and using a flash is a possibility. If you do this, wouldn't you use a diffuser on the flash? Also, where can you buy a large handheld diffuser to block out the harsh sun (for shooting with the sun behind me), and is this a better method? I have a helper to hold it.

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8/20/2006 6:35:47 PM

anonymous A.    Both methods work, and there is no real need for a diffuser for fill flash, Trudy. With the sun behind your subjects you may find that the reflection from a sandy beach provides all the fill you need, but a reflector (held by that assistant of yours) is a very good option, and probably better than your flash, though you could use both together.
Whenever squinting is a problem, you can tell your subjects to close their eyes and then open them on your count so you can catch them at the prime moment.
I have also seen sun shelters set up on the beach to handle conditions like these... large, white, translucent car-port sized... you can buy them for about $80 from hardware stores and the like.

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8/21/2006 5:15:00 AM

Jerry Frazier   You get about 15 minutes at sunset. That's the best time. Use that light. It's nice and orange. Use side lighting and casual relaxed portrait poses.

Then, as a last shot, just as the sun is setting, put them in front of the light, and blast some flash. Makes a beautiful portrait.

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8/21/2006 11:45:56 AM

Cheryl Kennedy Hines
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/27/2005
I have found that the best beach photography pictures I have seen as well as shot, have been on an overcast day in the evening with totally natural light. This keeps there from being any shadowing on the face, as well as squinting. The outcome of the overall natural setting proves to be a great picture.

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8/22/2006 11:18:47 AM

James Gray   This may be too little wayyyyyy too late, but I have a method that was shown to me that might help. I get my subjects in the position that I want and then have them close their eyes and relax. I count down from 5 and when they open their eyes tere is about 2 seconds before they start squinting again. I can ususally get the shots I want from this technique. Hope it helps.

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3/11/2008 7:13:36 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Most everyone says take your pictures before 10:00 AM and after 4:00 PM to get the best lighting. At best, often that's impossible at the beach..

So, don't position your subject with sun directly in front of or directly behind your subject. With the sun radiating from the left or rigth, you can use a gobo [as simple as a white towel] held on the other side to reflect the sun back to your subject. You'll need to experiment with gobo distance to the subject. You may want to bracket. You may want to use a polarizer or neutral desnsity filter to better control the light.

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3/13/2008 9:10:56 AM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Anothe trick I use is to have everybody look at me, remember where I am and then close their eyes. Count three and tell them that when you get to two ask them to open their eyes until after you say three. And make sure you don't take long getting to three. Using didgtal, make sure all eyes are open. Using film, you have your shot lined up so the second you see everyone's eyes open, trip the shutter. You'll see that better with your eyes than through the viewfinder. Hope you get'em.


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3/14/2008 3:24:29 PM

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