Teaming up with Cece Smalls for my first sunset session of 2021.

It was an amazing time…until the bugs attacked.

You have to love this time of year. The temperatures go up, butterflies appear, things start to bloom, and my thoughts turns towards the beach. Especially this year, all things considered. Personally speaking, last year was personally rough with health issues, the lock down, and other matters.

Now, it’s true that I’ve already done a sunrise session, which has it’s own set of challenges, but sunset is a different beast. We can relax, get into a groove, and explore options which is beneficial to both the client and myself. Especially when it’s someone I’ve never worked with before.

Cece is is an experienced model in the Hampton Roads community who has been on my radar for a bit now. We traded messages and agreed to team up for a sunset session. As we are both on the peninsula, we made it a point to try and find a location on this side to avoid all tunnels. After a lengthy, in-depth, search we agreed to a location that could work out. We discussed concepts and outfits and set a date.

The location was new to both of us, and as we never worked together before, we kept it loose and just explored. We were on the same wavelength with the flow, outfits, and poses.

As always, the plan was to shoot freely at first. Try on a outfit, hit a few poses, try on another outfit, hit a few poses, et cetera. This allows me to see how each one fits and where it could potentially fit later on in the session. The goal is to have an outfit or two picked out so, when the magic light hits, we are ready to rock.

Well, to be honest, there wasn’t a single thing that she didn’t look amazing in but we still did our best to find the best of the best. As the sun began to set, we switched gears from available light to off-camera strobe to put the colors of dusk to work for us.

And that’s when things started to go sideways. There was a slight breeze up until that point but then it died away. This allowed the blood sucking, winged, creatures to take flight. And they were hungry. I had forgotten that this is the worst time of the year for them. I thought I was being smart as I had a can of repellent with me that both of us used.

It had zero effect. If anything, it seemed to act as a perfume attracting more of them to us. We tried our best but we called it 20 minutes before sunset, before the best light of the day.

Cece stuck it out until the end. She never once complained. In fact, I captured one of the most amusing shots of my career as one particularly large mad bomber flew right towards her face. After a few minutes of laughing, she went right back at it as if nothing happened until we decided it was time a bit later.

When it was over, we both knew we had some amazing images and readily agreed to go again as soon as our schedules meshed up. Now that we have the first time jitters out of the way and know that we work well together, the second session will be even more amazing. Minus the bugs, of course.

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