Episode 8 | Koh Samui, Thailand

Location | Conrad Koh Samui, Thailand

Client | Destination Wedding Couple

I’m always teaching that putting yourself in a unique position gets you a unique image; this is a great example of that. I was shooting a destination wedding in Thailand for a lovely couple from Hong Kong at the Conrad Koh Samui. During the portrait session I was taking some traditional shots of them with the stunning ocean view as my backdrop. I was looking through and around the giant fountain (seen in the picture) trying to find a reflection or any way to enhance the shot. I always want to get my clients something special and I’m always pushing myself.

Okay here’s the breakdown.

What I did?

I noticed a small space under the fountain with room for a plus-sized photographer. I wrapped my 1DX(it’s weather sealed not weather proof) in a towel and took the plunge. Ideally I’d use my underwater housing but it wasn’t handy.

 

Why I did it?

I knew there was a unique shot in there with the water as my foreground creating interesting layers.

How I did it?

Getting these huge sunspots shinning through the water is not an easy task. I could’ve shot with my aperture wide open and shutter super fast and froze the water but that would’ve had an entirely different look and that’s not what I was going for.

Using a minimum aperture, F20 in this case, creates those funky octagonal drops and you need the sun to back light the water just perfectly for it to work.

(For those of you not familiar with aperture settings I’ll create a cheat sheet soon and paste in here)

Take Away Tip

Trying a unique angle is important but you must do it with purpose. I got low and under the fountain because I needed that water to frame my image. Once you have a unique position work every angle and experiment with your framing and exposures as much as possible. Under expose if you want a silhouette and try to frame your subject or subjects within the drops cleanly so that they don’t get lost in the frame.

Homework

Make sure your camera doesn’t get wet (this is very important) and practice shooting water in motion or drops of water with different apertures, shutter speeds, and experiment with different directions of light; try side light, front light, and back light. See what works for you and most important have fun.

Tech Specs

Model: Canon EOS-1D X

Lens (mm): Canon 35mm 1.4 L-Series

ISO: 125

Aperture: 20

Shutter: 1/800