Behind The Scenes: Shooting Models On Miami Beach

Guest writer, Julius Ise is a professional photographer based out of Germany. In January he traveled to the beautiful beaches of Miami. While he was there he called around to several modeling agencies to set up a shoot. This is a great example of shooting personal work. He was able to get some great shots for his portfolio while at the same time helping out the models at DecoModels.

We had the opportunity to shoot at Eden Roc, a beautiful hotel and resort on Miami Beach, as well as on the beach and the famous boardwalk. While the hair and make-up artist was finishing up on the models I checked the location to figure out the exactly where I wanted to shoot. I decided to use a simple one light setup with my Nikon D800 and the Nikon 50mm 1.4 for this shoot.


Instead of a heavy studio flash with generator I used a small Nikon SB-900 flash with a lastolite softbox. Had I not used a softbox, the light out of the flash would have been way too harsh. To compensate the loss of light through the softbox, I used the flash compensation setting (+1EV) in the menu of the flash. Because of the Nikon SB-900 I was able to use Nikon's CLS (Creative Lightning System) and i-TTL for high speed sync (HSS). Thanks to this set-up it was possible to shoot with wide open apertures like 1.4 and a faster shutter speed. With such wide apertures I only had a small depth of field and a nice blurred background. For most of these shots, I positioned the models with their back to the sun. Doing so allowed me to use the sun as a rim light and avoid distracting highlights and dark shadows on their faces. 





When you're traveling, you don't always have the opportunity to bring a lot of gear. For set-ups with more people or larger sets you would need more power than one small flash can offer but for portraits of one or two people, this set-up works out great.


See more images from behind the scenes on Julius's blog.

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GREAT work! I was supposed to be in Miami this past weekend too :

this is almost always how i shoot. 

very very nice images.

What would a cheaper alternative be than Lastolite if I were to get a softbox for this kind of work? (with a speedlight)

 Amazon has three or four different 24" softboxes with flash speedrings for $40 or so. I think they're branded as Cowboy Studio or Neewer. Decent quality for the price.

Great outcome, Really like the picture style.

I highly recommend the Alzo Box, by Alzo digital. I've had mine for three years and has not a scratch on it. The bracket is made of metal and the interior of the box is silver, so the output of the softbox is great. 

Nice - I also shoot this way a lot. It's fast, portable, and easy to move around a location. Though I usually have an assistant to get a sore arm!

I had an assistant with me but because he also was filming that day you can't see him ;)
with that strong wind i would not be able to hold the flash the whole shooting on my one with one arm.

Can someone pleaseeeeee tell my how i can shoot high speed sync with alien bees???? what kinda set-up would i need, and if its pocket wizard, would their be a cheaper alternative maybe on ebay......THANKS!!!!

can someone tell me which type lastolite softbox and size?

it's the Lastolite Hit Shoe Ezybox 15x15"


Great stuff.  What I wanna know is how did you manage to get enough power from he SB900 to  balance the sun.  Even with hypersync, doesn't the power of the flash also drop off?

Thanks Andre,

the SB900 has enough power to balance the sun. i just had to look that i don't shoot to fast so that the flash doesn't turn off because he get's to hot.

Beautiful photos very rich in color! Any tips to achieve this color?

Awesome work. What's that little light stand with a handle thing called by the way? Pretty neatos.

I don't know what's it's name. i got it from this shop:

Any editing tips?

most of the color look was created in the RAW file. i also try to do as most as possible in the raw and then i'm doing the final adjustments and of course the retouch in photoshop.

Can someone pleaseeeeee tell my how i can shoot high speed sync with
alien bees???? what kinda set-up would i need, and if its pocket wizard,
would their be a cheaper alternative maybe on ebay......THANKS!!!! 

Buy a variable ND filter. You'll get more efficiency with your flashguns and you'll be able to use your Alienbees

Do you use TTL or manual flash settings?

i used manual flash settings, i think it was 1/2 power

are you able to use the flash in manual mode and HSS?

sure. i set the power manual but it's still HSS.

Are you using a Nikon SC-29? If so, how do you attach to the softbox bracket?

Great article and shots.

yes i used the sc-29. i attached it with a small nut.

Thanks for taking the time to respond Julius. Much appreciated.