Raul (model portfolio shoot)


Raul hired me a month or so ago to get his model portfolio started. He didn’t have any images yet, so we had to plan for the maximum amount of variety. That meant a flexible location and as many wardrobe changes as we could manage. With those goals in mind, we headed down to Ventura Harbor, which had boats and docks, a retail area for manmade structures as background, and a beach across the street. We got some useful images in the marina area, but the beach images are the ones that really speak to me the most.

Raul, as you can probably tell, is a yoga buff. Lives and breathes it, from what I could tell. He was so enthusiastic about yoga, he’s planted the seed in my head…I’m thinking about looking into it! It’ll be a long time before I’m practicing it on the beach in a speedo though. Sorry, ladies.

So to torture Raul, I told him to slowly lower his torso and arm until it just blocked the sun in the above shot, and then he had to hold it. Then I made him do it about fifteen more times. Hey I wanted the best yoga-position-sunset-blocker shot I could get!

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The lead shot was taken near the end of session, so it is chronologically out of order. Below is an image I captured when we first started shooting on the beach. The sun is still high in sky, and I’m fighting that sun tooth and nail with my strobes. Every once in awhile I like to shine the sun right into my camera, to burn out the cobwebs, as you can see from this image. Lighting is 43″ shoot through umbrella, camera left, with my Metz Mecablitz 60 as main light. SB-28 with Lumiquest Softbox III as fill, camera right. For those of you who regularly read my blog, you probably could have repeated that lighting setup in your sleep. It’s my “go-to” outdoor portrait lighting set up, and for good reason. I can manage it by myself if the wind isn’t too bad, and only have to worry about securing one umbrella. It will light a whole person with a little falloff toward the ground, and I can overpower the sun (or near enough) if necessary. Also I can carry all this stuff, mounted on the lightstands, and not have to make two trips. So for portability and flexibility it’s just about ideal.


I wanted to get a close up headshot (below), and decided to get really close and shoot with a wide angle lens, for a different look than I normally do. You can see my lighting set up in his eyes here: big bright catchlight is the umbrella camera left, and there’s a low dot of a catchlight which shows the SB-28, low and camera right. I wanted a soft expression on his face, so we got to talking about things that made him happy. While we talked, I told him where to look, how to lean his head etc. I like the serene expression we got here.


Here’s Raul with a wardrobe change, and looking a little tougher. We’re on the jetty this time, which always makes lightstand placement tricky. Lights are reversed left to right. The sun is lighting the back of his neck, and the camera-left side of his shirt, which provides some separation from the background.


I shot the one below as we were getting ready to shoot some yoga poses. You can tell the sun is really getting low, because of the orange color as compared to the strobe light. I could have geled the strobe to match, but I like the difference in color.


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