Tuesday, 7 April 2009

On Assignment - Jamaica part 1

Jamaica is one of the most fun places you can hope to shoot - the people smile, the place is relaxed and the sun never seems to stop shining. Unless you are trying to shoot a family having fun on the beach, in which case it decides to cloud over and start raining...

Needing to pull something out of the bag, I tried to make up what we were lacking in cooperative weather with some fun and drama. Our "family" of models got into their swimwear and I had them begin to run out of the sea. The colourful boat had been hired for the day and I placed in the background for some visual interest.

With the sun just about peaking through a cloud, I had them backlit as they came out of the ocean, while setting the white balance on the camera to cloudy helped give the pictures a warm tint. To keep the action looking fresh and natural, I had them run through the water about 10 times, reviewing the shots on the rear monitor each time and giving them instructions.

To get a dramatic perspective I shot at the wide end of my 16-35 from close to the ground. As the familay ran out of the sea, I would run backwards holding the camera by my knees and maintaining a roughly contant distance to the models.

I didn't trust the camera to focus properly by itself, so I pre-focused at a distance of 3m and shot at f/11, knowing this would provide enough depth-of-field to keep everyone reasonably sharp. I also set exposure to manual and bumpoed the ISO up until I had a shutter speed of over 1/500th to freeze the action.

After each sequence I would review the shots on the rear screen to check the position of the people and the surf, provide some direction to the models, adjust my framing and shoot another sequence. My call of "just one more time!" became a bit of a running joke, but we ended up with a beautiful picture we were all proud of.


  1. Looks great!
    Can't wait to see more.

  2. Cheers Rob - look for more Jamaica stuff over the next couple of weeks...

  3. Julian,

    Another informative and interesting post.

    I don't do assignments, but it's a great insight as to what I could expect should I ever get the chance.

    Are the models hired on location- or is it something that your client had arranged?

    A suggestion for another post is how to go about finding and photographing models for potential stock library images.

    Thanks for the insights
    Dave T

  4. Hi Dave. These models were hired on location by a producer who was based there. We reviewed casting shots on the web and pre-selected the models from London. J