Off-Camera Flash Bridal Photography At The Beach

Off-Camera Flash Bridal Photography At The Beach

This photography project had been several weeks in the planning and for various reasons didn’t happen until now. In fact there was another postponement from the day previous due to weather problems.

It was bitterly cold, and I mean cold in the extreme with a biting winter wind, enough to make your face go numb in minutes! It was for this reason that we only managed one set of images right down on the beach itself as the wind coming in off the sea was almost unbearable at times. It’s fair to say then that with such strong, not to mention cold wind gusting around, allied to very bright, sunny conditions, it made bridal photography with a wedding dress quite impossible at times.

Technically, use of a soft box or any flash modifier was out of the question as it would have made in instant kite and disappeared down the beach. Also with such bright sun it was a working aperture of F11 and beyond, meaning bare speedlight flash on full power to compete with the sun. Luckily on most occasions the bright sand was acting like a very large natural reflector and bounced a lot of light back up.

I big thank you to everyone involved who helped make this happen. To Catherine for bridal makeup application and various touchups throughout the day, David Graham Hairdressing for bridal hair styling, Carla from Bonita Bridal for the use of a stunning wedding dress, Janice from The Flower Studio for providing a beautiful bridal bouquet, and our model Melissa. Melissa was a real trouper everything considered. Her commitment to this couldn’t be questioned, ย she came very well prepared, and most of all followed me around to various locations, embracing each with the same level of enthusiasm without a single complaint, and in the extreme cold and wind.

Here’s a selection of images from the day:


For quite a bit of the day we had a stormy sky in one direction and a perfectly blue sky with fluffy clouds in the other direction. As Melissa’s back was to the sun here, she would have been almost silhouetted so off-camera flash was used from camera left.



As we made our way towards the beach I noticed this opportunity for a picture where the sun would again be behind Melissa. Two things which caught my eye were Slieve Donard in the distance, and the yellow whin bushes with Melissa’s yellow bridal bouquet, kindly supplied by The Flower Studio. Off-camera flash was from camera right and positioned very carefully.


On to the beach and the wind and cold was much more severe! This was the background I really wanted but it meant Melissa facing into a strong sun. With some good timing between Melissa and I we pulled it off ๐Ÿ™‚


Now down on the beach itself. This image was composed mainly with thought for Melissa’s shadow which was being cast forward from a very strong sun. A decent amount of light was reflecting back up onto Melissa off the sand, and flash was also used.


With the wind getting too much and blowing the dress around wildly, I turned the flash off and opened up the exposure for some natural light portrait images. I did a series of these and each one was a winner ๐Ÿ™‚


Back off the beach again and the sky was perfectly blue with white fluffy clouds. Look at how the wind was billowing the dress!


With Melissa back in her ‘civvies’ we made our way back and stopped for some more images along the way, mainly natural light.


As above, more natural light photography.


And then the sun happened to come out again and provided the most beautiful backlight with it now a bit lower in the sky. The flash was back on again with a soft box and provided front light on Melissa, while the sun created the rim light on her back arm and hair.

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4 Responses
  1. Ross McKelvey

    Great work Nigel and team – the first image is spectacular – I love the slightly de-saturated finish, and of course the tremendous detail in the dress. Melissa is a fantastic bridal model – just a pity about the weather yesterday, but your perseverance has paid dividends!

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