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Trash the dress in the surf?

GrahamGraham Member
edited February 2011 in wedding photography
I was wondering if Neil or anyone else has any tips on doing a trash the dress shoot with the b&g in the water at the beach. The bride for this post wedding shoot has expressed interest in doing some 'trash the dress' shots and she said she would like to get in the water. It will be around sunset and I was going to use off camera flash with a softbox on the beach, the location has an old wooden pier ruin and it's a nice location.

The bride suggested having her husband carry her in the water and maybe have a bit of a water splash fight, so she is obviously keen and I am totally up for it. I'm in Australa and the weather is quite warm at the moment so no problem there, but I'm wondering if this is going to be difficult with fading light. At first I thought no problem, just like any other job but wet, but now I'm starting to second guess myself. If I was doing it earlier in the day no problem, but could the reflective surface be a problem? Will it just look a mess? I have some ideas in my head on what to avoid but I'm thinking there might be some unexpected pitfalls.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated and links to similar photos for inspiration would be fantastic. Thanks.


  • GrahamGraham Member
    edited February 2011
    OK so no takers on this, I did the shoot and I'm pretty happy with how things turned out but I would definately do a couple of things diffently next time so maybe this will help someone else.

    The fading light was a problem wth off camera flash, TTL would have been a better choice IMO but I was using a radio system that can't do that, so I resorted to available light for some of them. I also didnt count on the sun dissapearing quite so fast, I had about 10 minutes of light before it dipped below the horizon so lesson learnt there too, check the sunset time and get there early eough.

    I didn't want to get the couple into the water too early as they also wanted shots on the sand and I wanted to keep them looking dry until I had those, but that meant going in the water after the sun went down. Big mistake as that is much harder to light, its like lighting someone on a mirrored floor in a completely dark room. But of course that floor is made of water which makes everything harder. I think natural light and a bit of fill if required would be the way to go, much easier and the pictures would be easier to make look 'right'. By that I mean you have enough ambient to put them in context of the scene they are in.

    Neil, do you think I should have gelled my flash for the afteroon light? I was so rushed I didn't think of it at the time but after I realised it would probably have looked more natural. I wish I had done that and tried your method of bouncing on camera flash to a reflector held by the assistant, I could have used TTL for fill in the early shots that way. Maybe the new pocket wizards will be on my shopping list soon though too.

    Still it was great experience and I learnt a lot from this shoot, hopefully I can make improvements next time.

    Hope you don't mind me sharing a link to some of them Neil, I know your busy and probably get too many requests, but I am a huge fan of your work and would appreciate any advice you could offer for improvement.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Hi there Graham ... Sorry about the delayed response. Work can be overwhelming at times.

    It looks like you did pretty well on your own! Very solid technique there.
    Two of the images (like the last one) look a little under-exposed, but honestly, the entire series look outstanding. Your clients must be ecstatic.

    As you noticed the water wasn't a problem in being reflective, since you're shooting parallel to the water surface.
  • Thanks Neil,
    I am never completely happy with my work, I know that mentality pushes us to get better, still nice to hear someone who inspires me giving positive encouragement though ;)

    Funny thing about the exposure problem, I have to force myself to pick the images based on content even if they have some technical issues. But of course that's what the client prefers, I will be happy when all my shots are technically perfect and that dilemma goes away ;)
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