How to Get Soft Photos in Harsh Lighting

You’ve probably learned it’s a bad idea to shoot on the beach at noon due to harsh lighting. However, with proper technique using a reflector and the right camera settings, you can get some great shots with soft glow on your model.

In this quick tutorial, photographer Matt Hackney teaches how to get that soft look using a 50mm lens.

Camera settings:
ISO: 400-800
Aperture: 2.8
Shutter: 8000
Lens: 50mm

Even our videographer, Jenn, was able to get great lighting in her filming due to these techniques.

Have questions? Ask in our discussion board:

Question Asked: When is it best to do beach portraits?

Answer: Typical beach/bikini will be shot in Magic Hour right before sunset. It’s hard to come up with a bad photo at that time. However, I just did a bikini photoshoot at 7am for SGSwimwear & came out with incredible photos. Check some out here:


Beach Pinups: A Strobist Tutorial

Another Behind the Scenes Video and Beginners Strobist Tutorial by conceptual photographer and cinematographer, Ben Sant of BTS Photography. This video discusses balancing off camera lighting with the available ambient light on a beach front as the sun goes down. Learn tips and tricks in location lighting as well as see some eye catching images of a retro swimwear pinup theme.

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Fashion Shoot- Queen of the Sun- Emily Soto Photography

PS Actions available at

Editorial for the June 2011 issue of Thirst for Vision magazine
Model: Anna Weeks
Designers: ZAVVAL and Arturo Mendez
Hair: William Williams
MUA: Stefania Zavval