Dan Howell's picture

Sunny Pool Scene

As I was shooting this fairly simple outdoor swimsuit scene I had the impression that the image was reminiscent of 1970s swimwear posters like the ones featuring model Cheryl Tiegs. The setting for this shot was a group photoshoot in Phoenix AZ that I was helping to organize. My challenge was to set up a scene that could be photographed by several photographers at a time and direct the model through a series of poses.

I chose to stage the scene at the edge of the pool with the angle of sunlight on the model's back. Normally this is a difficult lighting scenario, but the darker color of the pool and shade from landscaping allowing the relatively pale model to contrast the background. Because of the angle of the sun, the model's face and body are essentially in a shadow from the beam of sunlight (shown coming through the model's hair). That shade/shadow was defeated with reflected light from both the light colored wall of the home location and my silver/gold Sunbounce reflector aimed to directly reflect the afternoon sun into the model's face.

The aim was to use the natural sunlight to backlight the model and control the shadow with reflection. Another benefit of this is creating conditions where the model can more easily open her eyes compared to direct sun on this very hot day. I was able to shoot and direct model Lillian through a series of several classic glamour poses while explaining the technical aspects of the setup for the other photographers. I was able to get numerous satisfying images from the scene and I believe the other photographers did as well.

Nikon D850
135mm · f/4.0 · 1/250 · ISO 100
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