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How to Use Sunset Light to Light Portraits

Sunset is arguably the most beautiful time of day for portrait light. But you don’t want to simply take your subject outside and start shooting. Take a few moments to identify “how” to use your light and your portraits will be dreamy.

Here are three ways you can use the light by setting your subject in relationship to the setting sun.

1. Front Light:

Place your subject facing the light. Shoot facing your subject with your back to the light. The light will brightly illuminate your subject, bringing out stunning catchlights. Take note: if the light is too bright for your subjects eyes, simply have them close thier eyes until you are ready to snap the shot – and make that moment count.

sunset 1 - Front Light.jpg

2. Side Light:

Turn your subject so that only one shoulder is facing the light. Then turn thier face 3/4 degrees into the light. This side angle will give you soft transfer edges between the highlights and shadows. This lighting will also add depth to your portrait. Shoot facing your subjects lit shoulder.

sunset 2 - Side Light.jpg

3. Back Light:

For a most unique and artistic shot, place your subject with thier back to the setting sun. On Manual mode, overexpose the portrait so your subject is evenly lit. Remember this will cause your background to be overexposed and your highlights will be blown out.

sunset 3 - Back Light.jpg

Experiment with the angle at which you place your subject to the sun and you will be more than pleased with the creative results.

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Christina N Dickson
Christina N Dickson

is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

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