I was booked for a photo shoot at the beach for a swimwear catalog by Malibu Strings. Now they are a great company to shoot for but the Art Director books me to be on the beach when the sun is it’s brightest not at the end of the day where the light is a bit softer. Even though I can use a flash for fill I would prefer to have the light on the ocean not as bright.
I rented a strobe for the day as I would need a large battery operated one for daylight flash fill. When I got to the location, I discovered that the rental company had not included a sink cord so I had no way to trigger the strobe. I informed the client that I had to get some thing from my car, which was 5 min’s up the hill from the beach, I did not say anything about the missing cord as makeup and hair still had to be done. I did not take an assistant with me as I would be giving the game away so they stayed on the beach with all the others that were with us on that day.
NOTE: When you are shooting on location it is best to take as few people as possible or you will draw attention to what you are doing which is an issue when you have girls in swimsuits.
This shoot was the time I had a MacGyver moment so that I could work my shoot with using the lighting the way I wanted it. Flash to be my main light and the sun to be a background light or just fill light. I found a bag of things in the boot/trunk of my car which had a cord that one end would plug into the camera and the other end I needed to cut and striped to expose the 2 wires so that they would be able to make contact with the input socket of the strobe.
I also found in my bag a strobe trigger. This is an optical sensor/slave that “sees” the light from another flash unit and fires with the connected strobe instantaneously. I could plug it into the strobe to keep the wires in contact in the input socket. I took some black tape and raped it around the electronic eye so that the daylight would not set it off accidentally.
I went back to the beach and put the wires into the socket of the strobe and pushed the electronic trigger in to keep it set. The wire was not very long but I could now use the strobe. The shoot went off with no other problems and the images looked great and the client was very happy with my results plus they did not have to re-book the shoot all because of a missing cord.
Best practice is to check all the equipment you are going to use if any is rented and keep some useful things in your bag or the trunk of your vehicle.