Tips: Lighting subjects during sunset

May 16, 2014

Photography, Tips & Tricks

One thing I love about being a photographer is our sense of community. All of the photographers I’ve met, whether commercial, sport, wedding, portrait, or otherwise, are so willing to share their stories, explain how they use certain techniques, and offer to help when you’re struggling or have a question. I belong to several local photography facebook groups, and one that I have a lot of fun with is the Seattle reSTARt group, an offspring of Jasmine Star’s reSTARt workshop on creativeLIVE (one of my most favorite companies everrrrr).

Last night, a group of us gathered at Erica Sciarretta’s (Sorella Photos) studio near Safeco Field to hash out reception lighting and how we approach using off camera flash (OCF). (Kind of made me think of the “How many ____ does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” jokes.) Rick and Anna Gordon (Rick + Anna) were unanimously dubbed the seasoned authorities for the night, and were so gracious in explaining how the two of them work together to achieve their desired lighting effects with reception tables and dances. One thing I learned is that it’s definitely worth it to have a second shooter or assistant who can help with holding the OCF! (But if it’s just you, a light stand will of course suffice.) We then moved outside to work on photographing people while being sure to keep the details of the sky/sunset (aka when someone is backlit).

Just a little Friday shoutout to this crew of awesome local photographers and collaborators. 🙂 Adrien Craven, Cheryl Ford, Maxine Toh, Jenny Ostenson, Rebecca Anne Mortenson, and of course, Erica, Rick and Anna.

Rick and Anna showed us how they use their huge octobox to diffuse their strobe light.

Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-together

This is how we roll…Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-together Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-together

Hangin’ out next to the Mariners.Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-together

We discussed using OCF to get dynamic photos that keep the details of the sky.

TIP: Everyone wants a beautiful photo of them with a gorgeous sunset or sunrise in the background, but commonly run into two problems: either the sky gets blown out, or you’re just a dark silhouette. (Seriously, where can you tap on your iPhone to make it so it’s jussssst right?) 🙂 This can be remedied! It’s important to expose for how you want the sky to look and then bring in the flash or strobe and figure out how you want to light your subject. (Because your flash isn’t going to have any effect on lighting the sky, and ambient light won’t change with the flash, because that is controlled by your shutter speed.)Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-together

Erica, Maxine and Cheryl posed for Jenny while Rebecca held the flash at varying degrees so we could see how the lighting changed with distance and angles. Anna and Adrien look like they approve. 🙂Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-togetherSo…how many photographers does it take to screw in a light bulb? I think none…because if the lightbulb goes out, we’ll move on and quickly take advantage of any other available light we can get! 🙂

I’ll finish with this because I love purdy skies!Seattle reSTARt reception lighting get-together