These are simple vacation photos. However, they’re not shot with natural light. They’re not shot with a pop-up flash. They’re not shot with a big speed light or Quantum on my camera. The secret was taking my poor wife, who worked overnight as an ICU Nurse the evening before, on no sleep, and handing her my “light stick.” That stick is an SB-900 speed light mounted on a Manfrotto monopod with a Pocket Wizard wireless trigger. She was about 15 feet away holding the light stick about 10-12 feet high and angled towards the center of the frame.
Nikon D3 with 70-200 f/2.8 VR
The speed light was set to Manual mode at 1/4 power and functioned only to throw some light from camera left for a more natural look. This is how I work these shots at weddings and in my opinion, is so much better than a big obnoxious speed light or Quantum flash sitting on top of the camera throwing light directionally.
In this 2nd photo, I put my poor tired wife in the ocean! What a trooper. Same set-up and captures the moment with more dimension and mood.
There are other ways to get shots like this and my way is not “the way.” However, you can certainly spice up your vacation photos if you hire your wife!