A 5am call time for a sunrise beach shoot seemed much too early with little to no sleep from the late shoot the night before but nothing that a few cups of coffee couldn’t take care of.
I met the client, makeup artist and talent at the hotel adjacent to the beach to finalize the style of wardrobe and makeup. I really like to use this time to build a rapport with the talent–it helps them to relax before stepping in front of my camera. When time is precious and your shot requires a perfect sunrise as the backdrop, you are at the suns mercy whether you are ready or not. Each second counts and having talent that is relaxed and ready on the first take is crucial. It’s a win-win.
The sky was clear; the temperature was cool but not unbearable. Strobes were set, tested and ready to go on the beach. Absolutely a perfect day–that is until our talent was on set. The strobe’s that worked earlier weren’t firing with the radio remotes, and it was too far to use a direct cord. We changed out the remotes and tested them again and still nothing. We changed power packs and heads—still Nothing. Changed the batteries in the remotes but again NOTHING was working and to make matters worse, the sun was almost above the horizon!
As my assistant held the remote up to his chest to check it, I was able to trigger the unit–voila it worked! Perfect. In order to get a consistent flash though, my assistant had to hold the remote trigger above his head for the entire shoot! Assisting may not always be glamorous but it’s sure necessary☺ I only remember having problems with the remote trigger not firing the strobes once before while shooting in a factory, which had massive amounts of steel and radio interference. Obviously, on the beach there was no radio interference but–the closer to the sand the remote was the more erratic the performance became. I’m guessing that the metal content of the sand was obstructing the signal somehow. Just happy we were able to find a solution even if it was by accident or some divine intervention☺
After that little nerve wrenching delay, we were able to get some really great images. I had a fantastic team to work with which is always a huge bonus. Afterwards, my client commented on how surprised he was that I didn’t blow a gasket with the amount of stress and pressure of the moment. All I can say is it helps to be prepared both with the right equipment (and backups) and with your technical knowledge in check. Of course, a little luck doesn’t hurt either or a tall assistant☺