Night shoot in a jacuzzi

On a recent photoshoot I had the chance to do a night shoot, something that I've been meaning to do for a while.

Shooting outdoors at night is a lot like shooting in a studio.  Since the only light is what's coming from the strobes, the camera can be set similar to the settings for a studio shoot.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200 f2.8L IS lens iso 200, 1/125 @ f8

I had to work pretty fast on setting this up. This was towards the end of the day and since the jacuzzi wasn't heating up properly, we didn't want to keep model Skyler in the water longer than necessary.

(I took these setup shots the following morning 'cause I forgot to take them that night so that it would be easier to see.)

We used 3 lights for this setup. The main light was a White Lightning 1600 in a large softbox mounted on a C-stand above the camera.  Powered with a Vagabond II Battery pack and triggered with a Pocket Wizard.

To light the water, I setup a Nikon SB-26 with a blue gel and another Pocket Wizard trigger behind the jacuzzi and aimed it down into the water behind the model.

To keep the SB-26 from flaring into the camera, I added a set of barndoors to the flash.


These barndoors are made by SP Studio Systems and you can get them from B&H for around $10.  They just barely fit around the edges of the SB-26 - a pretty snug fit.

For the edge light, I used another SB-26 with a cardboard snoot to camera left, standing it up on the edge of the jacuzzi.  I didn't have a spare Pocket Wizard to use for this one (need to buy some more soon) so I set it to optical slave mode.


I used the snoot on this flash because I didn't have room in my camera bag for a second set of barndoors for this 2nd SB-26 (although I should probably buy a second set, but I've already got too much stuff in the camera bag as it is).  The result with the snoot was a little too tight of a light pattern - in the first photo of this post the light was only hitting her arm and not her hair.  I ended up having our other model Mishka stand on the edge of the jacuzzi and hold this flash up to better aim it at Skyler. I also had her angle the flash head at a 90 degree angle so that more light would hit Skyler's hair.

The final image:
Canon 5D mkII 70-200 f2.8L IS lens iso 200, 1/125 @ f8

In retrospect, I would have liked to have added some color to the edge light by gelling it with a CTO gel but, like I mentioned, we were pressed for time.

A big Mahalo goes out to Skyler for being so patient and braving the cold water so that we could get this shot. Also Mahalo to Mishka for helping with this shot and not falling into the pool with the SB-26. :-)