Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brides and Beach

So last summer we did our second bridal photo-shoot (the first one here),  this time on the beach of Caesarea. I had been contacted by make up artist Danit, that already had the wedding gown vendors and the location chosen. We only needed to find two models, which led us to the beautiful Maria and Karina that star in this post. I had also contacted my friend Yael to video the whole shoot.

The schedule for the shoot was clear. We arrive at 16:00 at Danit's house, and begin makeup and hair on the two models in parallel, switch them, and then drive 15 minutes to Caesarea beach to be there at 17:00, with plenty of time to spare before magic hour. In practice, everyone was late (there was horrible traffic), getting ready took longer than I thought, and we had ended up arriving at the location less than half an hour before sunset. So we scrambled, we skipped over some things and went straight for the money shot.


Models: Maria Tsentsiper and Karina Radzion
Hair: Aviad Azran
Makeup: Danit Matat



We arrived at Danit's house and started makeup and hair. 


  
Playing around with the wide-angle lens. This would be nearly the last opportunity I had to use it on this shoot.


I always try to take lots of hair and makeup shots when we are getting ready. This is really good for the crew's business pages and websites. Here's one of Maria getting the torture device treatment:


Finally, we were ready to go!


We began with some portraits while the sun light was still strong enough to be key:





But very quickly I realized we were seeing one of the most beautiful sunsets and can't afford to waste a second of it. The lighting was kept simple as usual: one light-stand with a white umbrella, set far enough to light the whole dress fairly evenly.


Here Maria is posing for the "run-away bride", which was the original concept for the shoot. I had to photoshop the hand of one of the crew members that was holding the tip of her dress up for effect. This was actually working pretty well for our concept, but the sunset was running-away faster than our brides, and we only got a couple of shots in this style.



We took a few of these, and when the dramatic sunset was done, we went on to that hour after sunset when the light is very soft and blue (hence the "Blue Hour", which is what you take when you arrive late for "Golden Hour").  Here the flash is really paying off. The ambient is weak enough to basically build up you lighting any way you want, with just a hint of interest in the background from the dying sun light.



Here Karina is posing for a fake sunset (the photo is taken due North and the last bits of light were enhanced in post processing to make it look like sunset again...). The location at Caesarea is really great, because you have beach access and old aqueducts on the opposite side so you get two locations for the price of one.


We moved down lower to the sand to get more dramatic beach shots. The timing of this whole shoot meant we got much more drama than I intended, but you can't fight the light. If I had spent more time trying get more lights from all directions to make this a high key shot I would have wasted the precious time we had left, and that sky was too good to miss. 


When it really got dark I put the models up against the wall and shot them right there (sounds rather violent doesn't it?). Again, the single flash setup at this point gives you lots of deep shadows and plenty of drama. Obviously the post-processing was done to enhance that feeling even more. 


 
One of my favorite shots  from this whole set I got by sitting Karina down on the edge of the stones and going for a shot from above with my 50mm. My new full-frame camera allows for wide enough field of view to do this at 50mm and still get the medium shot. The high angle gives an interesting perspective and the wide aperture lets you throw your model's lower half into beautiful soft bokeh, while focusing everything on the expression, that Karina admirably pulled-off to perfection.
 

I liked this set so much I will throw in another one. Here the light has been warmed up a little in post. The flash is natively hotter than the blue light after dusk, but here I chose to emphasize that. Important to note that these images depend critically on the ability of the model to give a compelling expression... which she does beautifully.


Finally we had been in total darkness, and one model had to leave early (sigh...) but we had decided to make the best of the evening and jumped locations to the area of restaurants and bars next to the beach. Here we took some photos of Maria that looked like she was posing at the entrance to her own wedding venue. I tried to get some of the background lights in the frame to break up all that darkness beyond the flash's reach.

Overall this was a very good session. We had got some good shots in a very limited time. We hadn't had time to explore the original concept we came with, and I didn't have enough time to get too many good shots of the two models interacting. I did learn (yet again) how important it is to take extra time for prep, and I did learn that even in a pinch, I can get some decent results. 

See more photos from this shoot on my facebook page...

and a short video by Yael you can find here




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