Lighting a family on a windy beach ?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by walker_angell, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. I may be shooting some families on a beach this spring. I expect it to be a bit windy. Since we'll all be there together I'll have numerous voice activated light stands to help out.

    I'll likely have 3 or 4 speedlights (Phottix MItros+ & Lumapro). I'm guessing we'll do at least a few with a setting sun in the background that might require all the power these speedlights have.

    So, mods for wind? I'd think umbrella's good to avoid? Same for foldable softboxes? A beauty dish takes a lot of space (and likely a wind catcher as well) though the foldable one from roundflash looks interesting. Maybe take a couple of 24" x 36" frames to shoot the speedlights through?


    BTW, had to download firefox as the new website consistently reloads and is unuseable in Safari :-(
  2. Another thought is to use 3 or 4 small (less wind catchy) softboxes and have a couple of people hold them in kind of a gang. I wonder if small lastolites would hold up in the wind?
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Don't know where you live but the steel stakes used to secure concrete forms come already pierced with holes for screws and can be used with zip ties. They are inexpensive, 2 feet long and can be driven with a mallet. Ex that sandbags made from old blue jean legs & zip ties. Either should help secure your gear against wind..
  4. Thanks Sandy. I'm not too concerned about stands, if I use them. I've a lot of empty sandbags that I can fill up to weight them down. I'll have extra people standing around during each shoot so will probably just have them hold whatever I come up with (voice activated light stands).

    I'm trying to figure out how best to soften the light in windy conditions. I'd love a 6' octa but fear it'd blow apart — no matter how secure the stand. I'd think a small softbox would be better than a shoot through umbrella? Four really small softboxes better than 3 or 4 speedlights in a single larger softbox? I'm guessing I'll need to aim any softboxes downwind? Or can some hold up fairly well sideways to the wind?

  5. Can you get your animated light stands to wear loose-fitting white shirts and bounce the flash off them?
    <p>Whatever you use as a reflector/diffuser is going to present a "sail" area to the wind and need controlling, be it a simple white towel or a proper softbox.
  6. I like the white shirt idea. I think I'll have some convex as well as flat options. I think one might be a quite round 180° :)
  7. My experience is to use either a hard light former, aka a beauty dish ( Mola makes various sizes) or go with natural light and rotate your subjects. You could use reflectors but they need to be manageable in the wind, so 36-42" is a good size. Or if you want more of a punch, a fresnel type, aka Peter Lindbergh, etc. I generally get great results just working with daylight and good exposure all the while making sure your subjects look great and having a ball...
  8. One thing I can say is if its that windy why would you be doing a shoot then? A little breeze here and there is another story. That said I wouldn't be too concerned about what modifier you use although I would say umbrellas should not be on your list. Most issues concern light stands falling over but you have that under control with an assistant.
  9. Finally able to reply... Unfortunately I think it'd be difficult to get these families to build their schedule around when I think it best. We'll have to shoot when we have to shoot regardless of weather (unless it's storming). Hopefully it will be a calm day with some nice bits of cloud to create a great sunset. :)

    Agree with the hard mod. Also thinking about a ring of some type though that might cause me more problems than it's worth if it blows my camera around while I'm trying to shoot.
  10. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I would scout out a Plan B as well -- an area or two of beach that is a bit sheltered -- breakwater, rocks, erosion wall, etc.
  11. That's a good idea. Hearts are really set on having the sunset in the background but we'll see.
  12. So how did it go? I want to see some of the pictures you took.
  13. Just some very quick test shots w/ the roundflash. Roundflash works quite well but still, not unexpectedly, results in a rather unnatural image lighting people from front while all other light is obviously coming from behind. I'm going to try hitting them from one side with a lot of orange to see if I can make that work. I wouldn't mind having a bunch of big 'ol Moles to hit the waves with to give some naturalness to light coming from that side.
  14. Here's a test shot, too quickly edited, but you get the idea. I'll have a couple of chances to do some more test shots when I get back down there so we'll see what works.


    OK, that didn't work too well. Any advice on how to post a photo from my portfolio?
  15. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Is this what you wanted to insert?


    The first error was that between [ I M G ] and [ I M G ] (no spaces), you inserted the WEB PAGE's URL and not the IMAGE's URL.

    CAUTION - The image in your portfolio is very large, Although I did manage to insert manually, it seems that if you roll the mouse over the image and "click this image to show the full sized version" doing so caused a fault for my browser and I had to reload the thread.

    So instead I have inserted a scaled version of your image.

    If you want to insert an image in a forum thread then using an image 1000 pix. across the long side would be safe and that is what is advised: perhaps upload a smaller copy to your portfolio and try inserting that one.


    To answer your specific question:

    I am not sure what procedure that you attempted - the way I did it was long hand by inserting code, That is not the easiest way for Users to do that, because each user has access to their own portfolio and it is simpler to juts use the picture's URL from your portfolio.

    If you know your image's URL then just click on the "picture" icon and insert the URL.

    If you do not know image's URL, then below is an extract from THIS THREAD in SITE HELP (click on me), explaining one method to post an image from your portfolio into a forum thread.

    Note that you should no longer need to insert the line break "<br>" as that is now an automatic function.


    But importantly note that the image in your portfolio is very large and I think that will cause an ongoing issue if you try to insert it: so I suggest that it is best if you upload a smaller image to your portfolio and try inserting that one.

    Alternatively If you want me to move the (scaled) image to your original post I shall do so.

    In any case, if you ask me, I shall delete this post of mine.

  16. WW, yes that's the photo. Thanks for posting it and for the instructions.

    When I clicked on the photo from my portfolio and then tried to right click to get the address, nothing happens. However, just now when I went to it via 'library' I was able to right-click. Bug?

    This being a photo forum, it'd be great if there was a simpler way to insert a photo and also to specify the display size in the post separate from the size of the original and allow people to click on the display photo to see the full size original. Almost all other forums I use do this.
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Good. I'll leave it there, unless you choose to follow my suggestion and load a smaller copy of the image to your portfolio.

    As I mentioned there is (and always has been) a size limit which is able to be uploaded to one's portfolio. Previously 1500px either height or width or both With the advent of Pnet v.2.0, it appears that larger than 1500px can be uploaded to one's Portfolio, but therein lies the rub - larger images then are problematic to insert the image by the method described in the Site Help Forum. Additionally I have noted similar to your experience, if there is a very large image in one's Portfolio then there can be difficulties in loading it.

    Note well that I have also noted additional issues when one had very large image files in one's Portfolio

    Hence, my suggestion to reload a smaller copy of that image to your portfolio remains as the best solution at this point in time so that you might avoid any ongoing issues.

  18. I usually use bare reflectors, or sometimes a beauty dish when shooting in windy full sun situations. At the distance needed for a medium to large group, there is plenty of light spread, and any modifier is just going to waste light and/or blow over in the wind. This shot was with a single 300w/s strobe, 7" reflector, camera left about 4 feet high.[​IMG]
    fotografz likes this.
  19. frolickingbits is right on ... in open sun shooting a group of people that are backlit or side lit, no modifier is really necessary and just wastes precious light. The size of a medium softbox at a distance produces almost the same specular quality as no modifier. For best effect, place the lights opposite the angle that the sun is striking the subjects ... which is exactly what frolickingbits did in his example.

    It is even easier to pull off when at the beach because you get all sorts of fill light help from the beach itself. Like this shot using on-camera speed-light and a profoto B2 with a 9" Magnum reflector for a little fill. I used a 85mm lens to get some distance from the subjects which allowed the light spread to cover the whole group. It was windy and no modifier would have worked other than a simple reflector.

    View attachment Wedding-010.jpg
  20. IMG_2994.JPG I use Elinchrom metal modifiers in the wind. Standard 8" to the gorgeous 16" Fireball (Maxilite) up to their 27" beauty dish.

    Here's a shot on a windy gusty day. Standard 8" reflector. Was too windy for anything else without an assistant. Sun coming in from right. Strobe on left.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017

Share This Page