Sunset as background thread

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by Chuck, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Chuck

    Chuck TPF Noob!

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    My parents have retired to Western NC, where they have a small place with beautiful views over the mountains.

    I would like to give them a gift of a portrait of them at their favorite place at their favorite time.

    The sunsets there are often spectacular - - almost looking like those cheesy pics in cheap motels, that show the receding purple mountains, with red/orange skies, etc.

    Anyway, if I wanted to to a pic of them with one of those sunsets as a background - - how should I go about this?

    I will only have very limited equipment: camera, probably just one flash unit. Can I do it with just this - - or would I need to get more equip to get a decent shot?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    thanks
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  2. ShootHoops

    ShootHoops TPF Noob!

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    I think you can pull it off, depending on how bright the background will be. You'll need your flash to be strong enough so they won't look like a silhouette against the sunset. I've never tried it before, but that's just my guess.
     
  3. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suggest trial and error.

    everything depends on how far from the camera you want them to stand. If they are close, the flash will be plenty bright. The farther away they move, the less and less flash will reach them. Make sure you have a tripod too, as you'll want to use a small aperture (probably f8-10) so you'll also need to use a longer shutter speed.
     
  4. ShootHoops

    ShootHoops TPF Noob!

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    Will your flash be off camera? I sure hope so. Lol. If it is, you can have your flash set up just outside of the frame. They can be on one side, and the sunset can be on the other. Just throwing ideas out there. If the flash is on camera...I dunno how much I can help. :p
     
  5. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm guessing since he didn't mention a triggering device it will be on camera.
     
  6. ShootHoops

    ShootHoops TPF Noob!

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    Good point.
     
  7. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    To keep it simple, I would use one or two of the large camp lights on the large 9 volt batteries or even one of the liquid bright kerosene lamps. They would generate the same warm colour as the sunset. Set them up to avoid facial shadows and it might even look like the light from a bonfire.

    If you can't balance the light from the sunset with the camplights then shoot one set for the sunset and one for the camplights and blend the two shots in Photoshop or Paintshop Pro X2.

    skieur
     
  8. camz

    camz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sunsets lighting isn't too harsh so it's very doable with one flash, even most pop-up flashes on standard (D)SLR's will do the job if you do it right. If you want even ratios meter the part of the sky where you want the correct exposure and then use your flash to correctly expose your subject. If you want a more dramatic effect, just step down your ambient exposure for the background(sky) and use the flash for fill. Thing about on camera flash is that your subjects might look a little flat that's why I use natural light or off-camera flash. I didn't see you talk about a reflector b/c you can also pull this off with natural light.
     
  9. Chuck

    Chuck TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the recommendation everyone here - - this is the kind of thing I was looking for.

    I'm trying to keep the actual picture taking process as close to a "snapshot" as I can (my parents, while very nice/flexible, wouldn't be too thrilled with me messing with a lot of equipment, etc.) - - but still get a nice pic.

    There are some good ideas here. thanks again
     

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