Every year, after someone declares summer to be over, there’s inevitably one last burst of hot, summer-like weather in Toronto. It usually doesn’t last long, but I take full advantage of it with a beach photo shoot or three. This year, after ridiculous rains ruined our summer, September was suddenly sunny and hot for a long time, giving us back the season we had lost. I discovered a new model, Sami, on Instagram and a single line of emojis was all it took to convince her to hit the beach with me to take advantage of our glorious warm September weather.
Sami started following me on Instagram some time ago, after seeing my photos I made with our mutual friend Ashley. Eventually I noticed her liking my photos, I direct messaged her, and then we found ourselves having a beach photo shoot on the Toronto Islands the very next day. It was that easy.
Now let’s get to the nerdy photography info. As usual when I shoot on the beach, my Nikon 70-200mm FX ƒ/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Zoom Lens is my best friend. I tend to work with the longest end of the lens for the most compression of the subject and the most separation from the background. For some shots where I wanted a top-down perspective in close, I switched to the shorter Nikon 50mm FX ƒ/1.4G AF-S Lens for a wider view and its closer focusing abilities.
The light on this particular day was interesting, as wispy clouds dominated the sky, providing a nice diffuser for the sun. No other lighting or modifiers were used during this beach photo shoot. Here’s what our view was like of the sun setting over the condo towers of Toronto’s west end:
Moving on to the images we created in Lake Ontario as the sun was setting, I almost always use my Nikon 50mm lens in these situations, for a couple reasons:
- While Lake Ontario isn’t as powerful as an ocean, the waves can still push people around a fair bit. Using a shorter focal length and being closer to the model helps me keep the model framed better as the waves rock me back and forth, as opposed to the tighter view from a telephoto lens.
- The lens is small and short compared to the Nikon 70-200mm lens, which means it’s easier to keep it from dangling in the water when it’s around my neck.
- The wider aperture capability allows me to continually adjust the ƒ-stop for the slowly diminishing light levels of the setting sun.
After a successful beach photo shoot despite no prior modelling experience, Sami and I are planning our second shoot together. She absolutely killed it and I’m excited to see what we can do next time. Stay tuned to see lots more of her!
Follow Sami on Instagram.
Shop Amazon for the gear I used on this beach photo shoot
- Nikon D750 FX DSLR Camera with Meike MK-DR750 Battery Grip
- Nikon 50mm FX ƒ/1.4G AF-S Lens
- Nikon 85mm FX ƒ/1.8G AF-S Lens (only used for two photos, can you guess which ones?)
- Nikon 70-200mm FX ƒ/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Zoom Lens
- Lowepro Transit 350 AW Backpack
See all of Sami’s beach photo shoot below