This family wanted dramatic lighting for their beach session in Perdido Key. The definition of dramatic lighting can be different things to different people. Applied to beach photography, most of my clients just mean they want more than just standard natural light. When natural light is good there is nothing better. However, there are times when a photographer has to make decisions when shooting in natural light. If they expose for the subjects, that sometimes blows out the backgrounds and that negates the natural beauty of the surroundings. If the photographer exposes for the backgrounds then it makes the subjects look dark so there has to be post processing to even things out. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Using studio lights on the beach evens out the exposure, brings more detail in the backgrounds and puts a spotlight on the subject. It gives a studio look to the beach. For some they feel it gives an artificial studio look to the portraits. For others they like the look. It comes down to personal taste.
For the weather we had for this session, it was a good thing this family liked a dramatic look. We had storm clouds all around and it was just a dull, gray look on the beach. The family also wanted to get the photoshoot done this day instead of trying a makeup day as they wanted their last day at the beach to be fun time for the kids. Shooting with the lights, I was able to bring detail in the sky and bring out just a little more color in the clouds. The lights gave a depth to the session. It helped the family got into the spirit of the shoot. By the end of the shoot the whole family was getting into the surf and it turned into a game waiting for the next big wave. The mom told me after the session they had fun so I was glad they could have some family fun time during the shoot and they didn't have to use their last day on vacation as a makeup day. The mom also told me her daughter is usually the shy one when it comes to pictures and was surprised she was going through poses and making suggestions about what to do next!