Video: Two-Speedlight Bikini Shoot

Jacob the Photographer has a neat li'l video up from a bikini shoot that really gives an idea of how easy it is to effectively overpower ambient with just a couple of speedlights.

Try to reel your eyes in long enough to actually notice some of the lighting techniques going on here:

• Using high-angle key (the stand flash) with the corded, hand-held flash as fill.
• Using the corded hand-held off at an angle as a key light and the stand flash as back/separation light.
• Direct flash key (but about 2 feet higher than the lens axis) with the camera back/left separation light.
• Bringing up the foreground with flash enough to darken the sky (see here for a how-to.)
• I'll have to look into those oil-cleansing strips, too.

The main point: Look how simple and easy his various setups are, vs. what the end result look like. I mean geez, talk about minimal gear and maximum control.

That's what is it all about. Well, that and hot bikini models, of course.

My favorite part: The wolf howls from the bicycling team that rolls past at about the two-minute mark.

Thanks for the heads-up, Jacob.

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Blogger Jesse said...

I noticed he's using a 580ex with a hot-shoe chord, with a 430ex in the background. Does that mean he's shooting eTTL? or manual?

The wolf howls are great - but not near has funny as the crazy stance it takes him to shoot a model who is shorter than him.

June 26, 2007 7:00 PM  
Blogger Francis said...


June 26, 2007 7:04 PM  
Blogger Felix said...

Great vid, but you should've snapped a shot when the bikers passed by.
They even colormatched her bikini.

June 26, 2007 7:05 PM  
Blogger justin jones said...

these videos that show both the process and the finished product are incredibly helpful. thanks for sharing!

June 26, 2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger GeoWulf said...

Ah Jacob... moving up in the world.

June 26, 2007 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this in another thread, and some wiseacre mentioned Jacob's unique 'orangutan' stance.

June 26, 2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous tuthdoc99 said...

I wish I could see this....I only get a question mark with quicktime and haven't been able to sort it out.

June 26, 2007 9:37 PM  
Blogger SoulJah said...

Man, is that how I look hand holding a strobe?

June 26, 2007 10:11 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I guess i'm too critical but I liked his shots when he wasn't shooting from below and at eye level. I guess his intent was probably to get more sky in.

June 26, 2007 10:29 PM  
Anonymous jeremy said...

It doesn't hurt to have a smokin' hot model in pigtails.

The shots are viewable in much larger form here.

June 26, 2007 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can see some of the photos in better quality on his thread at

June 26, 2007 11:14 PM  
Anonymous sp-graphics said...

I just did the same thing last Sunday. I used my 430ex bounce of the white umbrella with pocket wizars.

June 26, 2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous sp-graphics said...

I just did a bikini shot too. However, I used my 430ex and bounced it off from the white umbrella.

Here are my images

June 26, 2007 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the stance, and practice it often. Just never really knew what it looked like. Keep up the good work!

June 26, 2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Uys said...

Works wonders to see to whole shoot, lighting setup and finished product!
Makes it easiet to get your head around it.

June 27, 2007 3:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have SB28's and they don't seem powerful enough during midday to overpower ambient. Are any of the smaller flash units powerful enough?

June 27, 2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Christopher of Definitive Images said...

Higher ISO for more flash power and faster shutter speed when using SB800 is the way I've best been able to overpower the sky with my speedlight.

June 27, 2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous JACOBthePHOTOGRAPHER said...

haha yes when I would shoot like this i always thought in the back of my mind i looked like an orangutan, so finally i wanted to catch it on tape... so I could have a good laugh at myself. Its funny because the models get a good kick out of it which makes them laugh and i get some good natural smiles out of them sometimes :)

June 27, 2007 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool vid!

Just wondering how jacobthephotographer triggered the flashes. I don't see pocket wizards so commander mode only works with the built-in flash, right? Thanks! Julia

June 27, 2007 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Pär said...

Isn't he in danger of lens flare when he points his back light (the one on the stand) into the lense? From what I have learned at you should gobo your flash if is has visual connection with your camera.

June 27, 2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous JACOBthePHOTOGRAPHER said...

"Cool vid!

Just wondering how jacobthephotographer triggered the flashes. I don't see pocket wizards so commander mode only works with the built-in flash, right? Thanks! Julia"

I actually use the 580ex flash set to "Master" ( on a hot shoe cord )to trigger the 430ex set to "slave" :)

June 27, 2007 7:37 PM  
Blogger DS said...

I was too busy checking out the hotty to notice the "orangutan stance"...I'll have to watch it again. I liked the music too.

June 27, 2007 7:50 PM  
Blogger Jammy Straub said...

Did he have omni bounces on those strobes? It looked like there was a diffuser on them. I wonder if the difference is noticable out doors.

Awesome video!

June 27, 2007 11:47 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

Hi tuthdoc99 If you are using firefox, it sounds like you have a conflict with the flash players. This site will sort it out for you;
scroll down the page til you get to the part titled:
Resetting the Quicktime browser plugins
and follow the instructions listed there.

June 28, 2007 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not totally sure I understand what the flash pointed at the side of the subject is for. Can anyone explain?

June 28, 2007 2:08 PM  
Anonymous ed said...

The side light is called a 'rim light', it makes the side of the model brighter, giving the pictures a more '3D look'.

July 01, 2007 9:42 AM  
Anonymous JMR said...

Yeah that was some really funny poses the photographer took to get the right shot. But man those shots were awesome!

I am JMR from

July 01, 2007 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Higher ISO for more flash power and faster shutter speed when using SB800 is the way I've best been able to overpower the sky with my speedlight. "

but when you crank up the iso, the background light gets lighter accordingly.. using a fast shutter speed is key, but also try changing the zoom head to narrowest (highest mm, 105 instead of 24 mm etc)you get more power from the flash, which means if you are already shooting at your x sync you can also close down the aperture without making the subject too dark

July 07, 2007 12:19 AM  
Blogger surfgremmie said...

Hey, the vid was a great help and inspiration. Great shots just with flashes. Could you tell me which flash cord you use or like for Canon. There is an Off Camera Shoe Cord 2 (2ft.)($50.00 B&H) and an OC-E3 Shoe Cord 3 (maybe 3ft.)($75.00).

August 08, 2007 6:32 PM  
Blogger surfgremmie said...

I found out that the OC-3 cord is a newer model, and is also 2 ft. long.
Oh, and also what kind of stand do you recommend to put the flash on?

August 08, 2007 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Jacob was a blast to work with and does a great job. The orangutan moves definitely made me smile ;)

November 09, 2007 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Marco said...

I watched Jacob's video months ago... I was already using the same technique and I simply love the results. Its so simple and you can set up an interesting lighting situation in seconds.

I've just posted my own YouTube video: Private Photoshoot.

I used a single strobe: SB-800 combined with pocket wizard. Single strobe was fitted with a strobist inspired grid spot. Thanks!

November 10, 2007 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Jake said...

Nice! But hey, what kind of camera was that?

January 15, 2008 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Flu said...

This Video is fun! Well done!


May 12, 2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger Kenny said...

Thanks for the great video. I learned a lot. Someone tell me who the music is by.

May 31, 2009 2:49 AM  

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