Easton’s first beach sunrise session at the Oceanfront.

My first ever session with my new Paul C. Buff DigiBee 400.

God, I love sunrise sessions. The beauty of sunset (sometimes even better), the coolest part of the day temperature-wise, and hardly anyone else around. The bonus for me being that I’m my best first thing and there’s still the day ahead of me for further adventures.

Easton and I have worked together before but that was a completely different style shoot. Shooting in a quiet studio with less than five feet between us is wildly different than shooting on a windy beach with 15-20 feet of distance between us. Add to that the fact that she had never down a session at the beach.

Easton's-beach-sunrise-portrait-session 3

Normal speech is non-existent in such conditions so I rely on a system of hand signals to get my suggestions across. I have gestures to indicate what to turn, in what direction, positioning, chin up/down, tilt the head, et cetera. It’s very intuitive.

She’s a fast learner, picked it up in a heartbeat, and then it was off to the races as I did my best to keep up.

Easton's-beach-sunrise-portrait-session 6

I also was dealing with a first. I bought a Paul C. Buff DigiBee 400 and got it in the mail the afternoon before the session. I already own an AlienBees 800 so I was familiar with basics of the product. The DigiBee is physically smaller, has less wattage than the 800, and had 7 stops of power settings instead of the 800’s 6. This made it ideal for my beach sunrise/set sessions when all I need was a small puff of light instead of a overwhelming burst.

After acquainting myself with the interface I had to adjust to having more power than the speedlights I had used up until this point. I also was able to go to a much larger light modifier that gave me a softer light with a greater area of coverage.

Easton's-beach-sunrise-portrait-session 8

The difference in the quality of light is, if you would pardon the pun, night and day. I can’t wait to explore this more.

Easton and I are on our own journeys. She is starting out her modeling career and I’m rediscovering the joys of photography via new gear, techniques, and ideas. We had such a great time with this session we did another session a week later in downtown Norfolk. Those images will be posted at a later date. For now, I hope you enjoy these images.

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