I had been thinking about doing a photoshoot around Studland for a while now and last Saturday I finally got the opportunity. I had the beautiful Rebecca Adams as the model. I had done my pre-shoot reckee and had chosen the spot, made a note of the light direction between 3pm all the way till sunset and had a good idea of what I wanted to get out of the shoot in terms of the style and the aesthetic. I was keen to try out a mix of multi-flash and natural light set-ups having bought some new toys (flashes, light modifiers and radio triggers) to create a number of distinct moods over the course of the afternoon given the same location and the same model – the only variable being the light.
The weather wasn’t too cold but there was a really strong breeze which chilled us to the bone. Note: Wind and umbrellas on light stands to not work well together – at all! It’s worse if you do not have any assistants.
I wanted to try and do everything in camera as I really do not have time to do much post these days. I wanted a natural look for the first part of the shoot so actually didn’t use Photoshop anyway. Everything, except for resizing, was done in Camera Raw.
We started with contre-jour with flash thrown in to fill in the details and provide some catch light.
Things looked great to start off with. Long blond hair flowing in the wind lit by that elusive end of winter season light – all I had to do was take the picture. Well actually there was a little more to it. But more of that later.
The wind was really beginning to pick up and it was turning out to be a nightmare keeping the lights from falling over – and it was freezing! Becca’s determination was admirable and she just soldiered on despite my many offers to take a break.
Content with the medium and long shots, I was looking for a dramatic portrait. Becca’s eyes were beginning to water as she had been looking straight into the wind. This was one of the last shots before the sun went down.
I like creating images that challenge the viewer’s notion of the real and the fantastic. Given the beautiful colours of the sky that looked too good to be true, I wanted to push things a bit so that it almost looked like a studio portrait against a backdrop.
And just as the sun went down, the sky turned magical and cast its spell on everything the eye could see (This has to do with the setting sun’s light bouncing off the clouds beyond the horizon). The wind, on the other had, turned savage. There was very little time before the light went completely so we couldn’t wait for the wind to calm down. But this soft magical light and the strong force of the wind offered a unique opportunity for this picture which, for me, embodies the relationship of the crashing sea waves against a gentle landscape. I threw in some harsh light to augment the effect. I knew this would be the last shot before we had to pack up…
“when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I still don’t know how Becca’s hair came to form that heart shape!