Small Flash: Using Off Camera Flash to Create a Sunset

[tps_header]Warm smiles and serene sun flares seem to be landing on the shoulders of portrait subjects all over the Internet nowadays. From engagement sessions to senior portraits, these sunsets appear to be gracing photographers across the country with perfect streams of light just in time for their latest photo shoot. Complemented with beautiful bokeh and a shallow depth of field, the allure of these images is easy to see. What happens when you walk out the door, camera in hand, and the weather doesn’t seem to be cooperating? With one flash and a single gel, I’ll show you how to turn a dreary, overcast afternoon into a movable sunset—rays of goodness and all.


Step 1

valind_smallflash_1Most days, firing away with your camera’s white balance set to Auto will get you the results you’re looking for. Better yet, if you’re shooting RAW (which I highly recommend for any type of portrait work) you always have the option to adjust your white balance later on the computer. For this technique to really sing, I recommend you adjust the white balance in the field. This image is what you’ll probably come up with if you leave the camera to its own devices. You won’t get a bad image, but probably a rather dull one; after all, what did you expect from a gray, rainy day? Switch the white balance over to Cloudy and suddenly you’ll have a much warmer and inviting starting point. You might also try the Shade white balance setting to warm up the image even further. 


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