Seascape Fashion Photography

Watch Karl and the team battle fierce winds and fast-moving tides as they tackle a tricky fashion shoot on location.

You’ll discover how Karl used a long exposure to capture motion in the waves, combined with a fast flash duration to freeze the model. He also demonstrates how to adjust exposure for changing light conditions using filters. You’ll also see how Karl worked closely with his team, ensuring clear communication throughout to ensure a successful shoot.

In this class:

  • How to shoot fashion photography on location
  • How to use fast flash duration with slow shutter speeds
  • Techniques for controlling exposure in changing light conditions
  • How to use filters to adjust exposure
  • Studio lighting for photographing on location
  • Working with a team in difficult conditions

Learn more about the concepts covered in this class by watching these videos:

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below!

For this shoot, we knew we would be facing tough weather conditions. That meant we had to plan the shoot carefully before going out and doing it. Clothing for the team was one consideration, as was which lighting modifiers and packs would withstand the wind, sea spray and rocky footing.

fashion photography on location

We made several changes to the lighting throughout the shoot due to the changing weather conditions.

Once on location, the shoot required clear communication among the team. With rapidly changing lighting conditions, it was necessary to make several changes throughout the shoot, including the position, placement and power of the lighting. Karl also used filters to control the lighting. These needed regular cleaning thanks to the abundant sea spray.

Photography filters

Karl used filters to control the light.


Seascape fashion photo

The final seascape fashion image.


  1. jeahn

    Wow, can’t believe it’s taken me a year before finally seeing this lesson. I can see why you mentioned this was one of the favorite shots you’ve done. It’s wild how much coordination and patience went into such a fast paced shoot. Well done all around! What a ride

  2. Marianna

    Hi Karl, great stuff like always!

    I have a question: you used fast flash duration at nearly maximum power. You started with 10 and then at 9 I think.

    As you said in one of your lessons, to achieve faster flash duration it’s often necessary to work at lower power, generally below 5.4

    So the question is: if you had used the power of the lights around 5 or even below you could capture the dress and the model more sharply (correct?) but what about the overall picture? What should you have done for the exposure compensation? Another para 88 or what else? Thank you!

    1. Hi Marianna, I used the fastest flash duration I could based on the power I needed, so my Move packs were set to ‘speed’ mode. I had no choice to use the high powers to overcome the ND filters I was using to block out the natural light to achieve the long shutter speeds I needed to capture motion in other areas of the picture. The duration I would have been getting from the flash at these powers and settings would have been about 1/2000th of a second which was ample to freeze the model and the water near her, of course she needed to also remain still for the remaining seconds because the daylight will also expose her and cause blur which is why the dress flapping in the wind has motion blur but I’m very happy with that effect. Even if I had used the fastest flash duration, I still needed the daylight for the scenery and that would have still affected the dress on the long exposure. If you had wanted the model sharp too then you would need to increase the shutter speed to but then you would lose light – which you could compensate by increase aperture size or ISO – but then you would lose the mood of the motion of the waves in the background.

  3. Earthquake in Mexico caused very high waves in Corona Del Mar, California. The beach location I choose had many rocks, a bit difficult to move with equipment around them getting to my preferred spot. Got the shot I wanted, nothing as difficult as what you did. Upon leaving I thought if I quickly run across the sandy area instead of the rocks…all I need to do is catch the waves at a good time.
    Big mistake, very strong waves caught me, dragging me and my equipment under water. Struggled keeping from being pulled out into the ocean. Managed to get up and leave but my equipment covered with salt water got ruined…$6,000 value gone.
    You got a great shot with even more difficult conditions than it was for me. As always you got great work.


  4. Ventis Jansons

    Well done for team. That’s wasn’t easy at all can see that . Wind and waves, great team you have Karl .

  5. For sale, a couple of slighty used salty Para 88s. Wow! What a challenging shoot. Great job to you and your entire team and model. Thomas

    1. Ha Ha thank you, yes but they wash well with the hose. These same Paras were also drenched in our Fashionscape shooting in Iceland and they’ve have stood the test of time with air miles, weather, water and dust and many collapses!

    1. Hi thank you so much yes this was a great personal project and idea that I’d been thinking of fro a long time. But as always with these type of shoots it required a great team effort.

  6. Man, I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a photography Legion of Merit but, if there is, the folks holding those two Paras earned it on this shoot!

    Kudos! And, as usual, great video series. No one does it better, Karl.

  7. Hi Karl!
    Why did you use the first curtain?
    Could second-curtain synchronization be used?

    1. Hi Alex, I can’t see that it would make any difference in this situation as my main subject isn’t moving anywhere.

    2. Using first curtain gives the model visual queue, to hold for the 3 to 4 seconds necessary to make the shot.

  8. Having just come across this I’m a bit late with the comment, but what a fantastic show.

    I’ve worked with a team in similar harsh conditions just filming as opposed to photographing, which I think is easier as it doesn’t involve that ‘stay still, stay still, don’t move’….

    Karl, even though on days like that everyone just wants to skiddaddle back home, I really hope your wallet took a big hit at the bar that evening. They deserved it !!! 🙂

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