I’ve been finally getting out of ‘commercial photography mode’ and getting back into shooting personal work for fun.

Its really easy to let your personal work fall by the wayside when shooting as a job so I’ve made a conscious effort lately to get back out there.  After talking with my wife, we decided to go do a beach fashion shoot.

Leave home for the beach fashion shoot: 6:45pm PST.

One of my favorite things to photograph is my beautiful wife Dominique!  She runs a style blog called Somerstyle in which she posts about fashion ideas, clothing styles, and more.

It works out really well that I happen to be a photographer, she needs images for it, and she enjoys being in front of my camera!  For this beach fashion shoot she wanted to post about wearing fashionable jackets at the beach for those San Diego days that its slightly cool out.

She picked out the outfit, I grabbed my Sony A7 camera and Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 lens, and we headed out the door.

We decided on Coronado Island, which is only about a 5 minute drive away from us (pretty rad, I know 🙂  We easily found parking and started walking to the beach.  There were a few different areas to work with so that gave us plenty of options.

The rock barrier: 7:03 pm PST.

As you enter the beach, you cross a huge barrier of massive rocks.  After moving past these rocks we decided to use them as a background.  I asked Dominique to stand in front of these rocks so the sun was hitting her from camera left.

Notice I’m using the rule of 1/3’s to place Dom on the right 1/3 vertical line.

Before photo straight out of the camera:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 1

After Lightroom editing:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado San Diego

1/125, f/1.8, ISO 50

I edited this image by pulling up the contrast quite a bit and lowered the highlights to smooth out the light.  I then dropped the blacks so they were less punchy, and lowered the saturation.  I created a custom tone curve to make the blacks a bit more grey, and then added some split toning to create some more ‘beachy 1970’s’ color.

Beach Fashion Shoot lightroom settingsBeach Fashion Shoot tone curve lightroom settingsBeach Fashion Shoot lightroom split toning settings

 

The sand trail: 7:04 pm PST

I turned to my left and noticed the Hotel Del Coronado in the background so we decided to use it as a backdrop.  Dominique stayed in place and I simply moved to her left side to get this new view.

The light was now starting to come down pretty quickly which produced nice long shadows.  I placed Dominique so the trail would help lead the viewers eye to the hotel in the background.

Before photo straight out of the camera:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 2 before

After Lightroom editing:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 3

1/250, f/1.8, ISO 50

I pretty much used the same color settings as the previous photo to edit this, but quite a few different settings in the ‘basic’ module.  I wanted this to show more of an orange color cast.

Coronado Beach Shoot 3 lightroom settings

Sand Dunes: 7:07 pm PST

After the rock barrier, we moved toward the beach and encountered the mini sand dunes at the beach that I thought could provide a great background.

I placed Dominique with her back to a dune (which means now she was facing the rock wall which is why the sun is now camera right).

I wanted to break the rule of thirds a bit so I positioned her dead-center of the frame.

Before photo straight out of the camera:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 3 before

After Lightroom editing:

Beach Fashion Shoot

1/125, f/1.8, ISO 50

I brought up the exposure a full stop, did a little adjusting the ‘basic’ sliders, and applied a custom tone curve to make the blacks more grey.

Beach Fashion Shoot 4 Lightroom settingsBeach Fashion Shoot 4 Lightroom settings tone curve

Backlit: 7:12 pm PST

I don’t often shoot backlit so I thought, ‘what the hell’ and gave it a try.  I placed Dominique with the low sun setting behind her head.

I had to make sure to slightly over-expose, otherwise the camera brain would likely try to expose for the sky, leaving Dominique too dark and underexposed.

Before photo straight out of the camera:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 4 before

After Lightroom editing:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 6

1/125, f/1.8, ISO 50

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 6 Lightroom settingsBeach Fashion Shoot coronado 6 Lightroom tone curve settingsBeach Fashion Shoot coronado 6 Lightroom red color settingsBeach Fashion Shoot coronado 6 Lightroom magenta color settings

Just the two of us: 7:28 pm PST

Whats a beach day without a photo of of yourself!  After hanging out at the water for a while I decided to actually get in front of the camera and take a shot with Dom and I.

We walked up close to the water and set down out blanket.  I placed my camera on top of it to serve as a makeshift low-pro stand.

I had Dom place her sandals and shades next to her, and framed the shot leaving space for myself on the left.  I clicked the shutter and ran back into the shot.

Before photo straight out of the camera:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 5 before

After Lightroom editing:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 7

1/90, f/2.8, ISO 600

I pulled up the temp slider to make the photo more yellow, and pulled up the tint to add more magenta.  I dropped the highlights (are you noticing a trend here?) upped the shadows to pull more detail into my beard, and dropped the blacks so they weren’t so strong.

I then created some more peach/purple split toning to add some more color.

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 7 settingsBeach Fashion Shoot coronado 7 split tone settings

Coronado Beach: 7:33 pm PST

We got up to leave and I had to snap a quick shot of the sunset.  Coronado really is a beautiful beach and I’m lucky to have it so close!

Before photo straight out of the camera:

Beach Fashion Shoot coronado 6 before

After Lightroom editing:

beach fashion shoot coronado san diego

Coronado island beach, great spot for a beach fashion shoot! 1/200, f/1.8, ISO 125

This needed a lot of work!  I pulled the temperature slider to the right to warm up the shot, pulled the tint up a little, then upped the contrast.

I then dropped the highlights, blacks, and saturation, while pulling up the clarity slider to sharpen the edges a bit.

Beach Fashion Shoot lightroom settings

It doesn’t take much time

Sometimes we use the excuse that we don’t have enough time to shoot as often as we’d like to.  For this shoot we left home at 6:45pm, arrived at 7:00pm, shot until 7:30, and were back home by 7:45pm.

That one hour was more fulfilling than watching TV and I actually have something to show for it!  I’m going to encourage you to make more time for yourself to get out there and create some images.

What do you think?

I think its highly important to make sure to specify what kind of editing I’ve done to my images so newer photographers don’t think they just came out of camera like that.  I call that the Great Photography Myth and even wrote a huge blog post on how that hurts photographers.

I’m trying out something new in putting up screenshots of the module settings I’ve changed as I thought it might help visualize what I’ve done to change the image.

Is that helpful to you?

I think its highly important to make sure to specify what kind of editing I’ve done to my images so newer photographers don’t think they just came out of camera like that.  I call that the Great Photography Myth and even wrote a huge blog post on how that hurts photographers.

So what do you think about putting the screenshots and shot settings in the captions of each photo?  Does that help?

 

Would you like soft tones like the ones above?  Check out my Soft Tones Lightroom presets

I realized how much of a different the right tone curve adjustment can totally change a photo and really impact how great it looks.

Since the tone curve adjustment panel and be tricky to get right, I’ve created a set of 25 tone curve adjustment Lightroom presets that work in just one click.

These presets only make changes to the tone curve panel, so you can simply ‘stack’ them onto your existing photos and edits to see how the different tone curves look.

Click here to see how the Soft Tones presets can bring out the best tones in your images.