Monday, October 21, 2013

Courtney's Maui Beach Portraits at Sugar Beach

Last weekend, I had my first beach photo shoots with models in Hawaii. Courtney was my first guinea pig. I was really excited to photograph her Polynesian tattoos. She told me a little bit about the significance behind some of the symbols — there is so much more to the pretty shapes and swirls that I'd ever imagined. We started taking pictures in the thorny trees that line the beach (I collected at least 10 thorns because I'm not used to having to watch were I'm stepping while I take pictures - these beach thorns actually get stuck in your skin!) and since it was early in the morning the sun was just rising over Haleakala and gave us some gorgeous backlight. I'm officially addicted to backlighting at the moment — I can't resist the glowiness! After I got all of my standard comfortable poses out of my system, I was ready to try something new! Ready to embrace some Hawaiian spirit into my portfolio! Ready to take portraits IN THE WATER! I was slightly nervous about taking portraits of a model in a bikini on the beach — afraid of balancing along that fine line between beautiful-sexy and just-too-far-guys-calendar-porno-sexy. I experimented with whether I liked the look of the water splashing up around her body or whether that looked messy and it was better to just have her lying on wet sand. It turns out that the splashing water tends to carry lots of sand with it so it can look dirty (but dramatic) whereas the smooth wet sand acted as a pretty good reflector of the light, filling in any shadows on her face and making her skin look smooth and glowy (and we've already addressed how I'm feeling about glowiness these days!) Oh, and I LOVE the way strands of her hair were getting swept away with the water — that's definitely a new bonus that I never had when shooting in a studio. 

Here's a little before photo and some behind the scenes! The most fun thing about shooting in the water were the warms waves splashing up around us and making us laugh. The morning sun was blazing down so the water was really refreshing and I think there's always something really delicious about being sopping wet when you're fully dressed (obviously, Courtney was in a bikini but I was wearing clothes). It was also really funny watching Courtney try and hold poses and keep her face relaxed while the waves were pushing her around. I caught some action shots from moments when the ocean won and totally broke our poses. haha

Have you ever taken portraits in the waves?
I would love any tips you have to offer :D x