The Beach: Sunset & Sunrise
So in this chapter, I take you with me on a shoot at the beach to show you how I approach one of my favorite times of day, sunset. I told you I would give you my basics, so here you are going to learn what my favorite camera settings are for sunset, how to read a histogram, and how to take photos of your friends, girlfriends, wife, just not professional models. But before we begin, let me talk to you about something super important in photography, which is flexibility. I'm hoping for a perfect sunset with glowing clouds they don't always happen and that's what makes them special. It's easy to get frustrated when things don't go your way so the best way I've found to deal with it is having backup plans. (inspirational music) (bird chirping) So we're still in Mexico, at the beach. The sun is setting at about one hour and today we scouted a few spots, so I have Andrea out here with me. Thank you. She's not a professional model or anything and I'm doing this so you when you tr...
avel this summer can do the same thing. You can use your friends, your girlfriend, your wife, it's easier to work with people you know. For sunset, I actually like having a silhouette because it gives more context to the image. Usually the person is backlit anyways or frontlit it's just a shadow, but it gives context and it brings the viewer in. Let's get shooting. (Inspirational music) (snapshot) Very good. Hey, it's me, Alex. This is my voiceover voice. It sounds a lot nicer than when we're out in the field because of the wind, the waves, everything like that and I'm gonna use this to share more value and knowledge as we go through the workshop. Let's get into it. So actually there's a massive surfboard right there it's orange, so I'm using this tree to cover it. So these are my settings for sunset I have 2.8 behind Andrea Fast shutter speed to go with it, it's still pretty bright out. Uh, the 5D broke. Trouble in paradise, the 5D is broken. No, it froze, so in this case we take the battery out, battery in and it's back running. Good ol' 5D. So here, I'm making it seem like Andrea took the photo herself. It makes you, the viewer, feel like you were there. It's immersive, get creative with it. I think we're done with this hammock. Can we try the other hammock? Turn to the left. (snapshot) Just three quarters, yeah that's good. (snapshot) Yeah, again, once more. When I'm shooting for sunset, especially with big apertures like 2.8 1.4, I'm always checking for focus, it's easy to miss it and sometimes I don't mind it, but at least I try to get it right and sometimes my favorite photo is the one that's out of focus, but I try to keep checking it at least. I move my clusters to be in the right spot so I don't have to move the camera around so the out of focus clusters have to be in the right section of the image, I just move them about. Here, I wanted a shot that shows emotion and carefree-ness so I asked Andrea to fool around and use the hammock like a swing. So I let her try things and keep encouraging and steering her towards the photo I had in my mind. (Inspirational music) Moving down the beach to shoot some more minimalistic portraits with only the ocean in the background. Yeah it's not about getting the most epic photos of the beach, it's just that we're having a collection of photos of the beach. I know what my iconic shot's gonna be. It's gonna be at the A frame I've seen this point so I'm just getting a collection so we can finish with that big one. It's more like a story. We're shooting Andrea's feet, and I'm just making some portraits of this rope swing. So just like that, we have a set that makes sense that tells a sunset in Tulum. Eye contact. A lot of people avoid it so be different and don't shy away from having your subject looking at the lens. It brings the viewer in. So histogram is all the data of a photo on a graphic. In a properly exposed photo, your histogram looks kinda like little valleys. It's balanced. There's no like big big peaks. This is difficult to expose because it's dark in here and bright outside. I just need to check a couple times and I also want a fast shutter speed cause Andrea's gonna run towards me. 3.28, 2.8, 400 ISO, (snapshot) see first. Just like we talked before the histogram looks like I can save the shadows, this is not bad on the rock and my highlights are manageable. Middle, there's not much, but this I can save. I'd rather get underexposed than overexposed. (Snapshot) I'd always rather underexpose, you can always save the shadows when you're shooting raw but the highlights can never be saved. Yeah it's nice, it's different.
Oh it's the yoga room.
Yeah, that's the yoga room, different. Andrea's messing around, (snapshot) but she's a good yogi (snapshot) Actually, (laughs) I think she's happy here. Two things that are important here. First one is that this whole coastline is facing east, which means sunsets are a bit odd because you're not gonna see the silhouette of the sun. You're only getting the light up in the sky. So you need some clouds. Like tonight, tonight is good because there's big clouds in the sky and they should catch the light from the sunset. They should. And the second thing is this place. So it helps having this location right. I mean it's a big A frame with grass on the sides of it. It's cool. So I found it randomly today. I was just walking around, whenever I have some free time I'm at the hotel, I like to go walk around randomly. Left, right, and I try to go fast so I can scout a lot of things. But you don't have to do a bunch. Just keep your mind, that extra 5 minutes you can spend looking for something. Then I found this and I was like perfect for sunset. For this whole sunset chapter, I've been using the and here it's coming in really handy cause this wide at 16 this looks immense, you can still use an 1855 kit lens on this it's gonna be this effect but try to keep in mind what you use for what location. 16 there's a lot of deformation, 18 too, so it makes things taller. Works great here. (Inspirational music) (snapshot) (snapshot) So one thing I've noticed here is that even with my exposure dialed, it's still pretty dark up here, very silhouetty. So sometimes I do like a handheld triple exposure HDR photo. It's not really HDR, but I stich them into Lightroom after and I know how to do that here. What I do here is start with an underexposed photo with all my information in the sky, then I do a normal photo kinda average, just like you're doing HDR. And then I do overexposed photo. So with a slow shutter speed, more ISO, so I get all my detail in here. So when you go to edit, you gotta be pretty tasteful cause it's pretty easy to make it look completely surreal. That's not the goal, I just wanted to fill, have more information in the hut because it's cool and I want to get this wood and then see still the sky outside be blue and hopefully gets red. Try to use that. If you've never heard of an HDR just look it up and look how you do it in Lightroom. It's important that your model doesn't move because if the model moves, Lightroom freaks out. It's fine if you shake a little bit, that's fine. We can correct it. But if your subject moves, no good. Don't move. (snapshot) (snapshot) So I start with this. With my sky outside correctly. Then I go with my overexposed, so we see all the information inside the hut here. And then I just take a normal one. Good? A little closer. (Inspirational music) So I'm getting lower because I want Andrea's silhouette. She's completely silhouetted by now and that's fine. I just have to own it, she's silhouetted. And I want her to be against the water instead of against the sun. (inspirational music) One other thing I like to do here when I'm shooting a portrait of somebody close I actually don't focus on the subject but focus on the background. So Andrea's blurry and the background is sharp. It gives it this whole feel. (Inspirational music) When you're working with natural environments, you can't control everything. Tonight we hoped for a sunset, didn't really happen. The clouds haven't light up yet and I don't think they will. We're going to have to do a second session I think and come back here for sunrise. Facing east, it'll be great. So always adapt. You know things happen, you plan for it but it doesn't work. We got some solid shots, but I still think we can do better and if you have the time, get up for sunrise it's what we're gonna do. (inspirational music) It's 6 am the tropics and after a short night, we're headed to a rooftop pool to catch first light. (inspirational music) Alright where's this sucker rise exactly? We're using sun seeker, reset the compass, Alright that's today, so right there. This is gonna get above us at 7. She could probably do the drone earlier so it'll be higher up. I like to have my stuff ready to go to make use at the time. (drone buzzing) With the drone I'm always underexposing I feel. Easy to get it overexposed. ISO 100 shutter speed is 500 and aperture is 2.8. I'm looking for whatever I think is interesting. And I think here the blue pools are pretty cool in the jungle. Just like little pods of water and I'm gonna do it panorama. (snapshot) one, pan up, two, and pan up, and three. I'm still waiting for the light before she goes into the water. (inspirational music) (snapshot) I'm doing panoramas one, two, three photos. Then stitch them into Photoshop, just get more quality out of one photo. Especially if you plan to do it in portrait. I always like to get some video footage as well. (drone buzzing) So now I switch to camera. In terms of setting I have one 320, F4, 200 ISO (Inspirational music) (snapshot) (snapshot) (snapshot) So that's it for how to shoot sunset and in the end, I'm happy sunset didn't really happen. We could talk about plan B's. Remember to always be flexible with your photos. It's about having fun and enjoying. Photography brings me a lot of joy and I hope it does that for you too. Don't get bogged down or discouraged because things don't work the way you want. You can't win them all. Be ready for things to not work out and have a back up plan anyways. On the next chapter, I head down on a solo kayak mission to this turquoise river called Casa Cenote.