How to take portraits during evening?
Portrait Photography Fashion Photography
Pixean
December 26, 2016

Portraits demand perfect lighting, be it natural or strobes. There will be projects worth undertaking, demanding portraits in the dark or in the evening. In either case natural light simply won't be enough. You will have to use artificial lights either as key light or fill light or even hair light.

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Let us discuss the possibilities. Firstly, we will talk about portraits during the golden hours. These portraits can be fabulous if taken properly. With the golden sunset in the background, the subject's face tends to be dark. You will have to use a fill light to illuminate your subject's face. With proper daylight balance and fill lighting, you will get the perfect shot. There are no fixed camera settings for this. However do not increase your ISO more than 800 in any case, to avoid grain. Try adjusting with faster shutter speeds and wider apertures. Thus a tripod becomes essential. The most common aperture range is f/5.6 to f/8. Use a CTO gel in your filler light to bring about a nice balance. Use aperture priority mode while shooting during the sunset. However without the sun, change the mode to manual, since without the sunlight; camera will not be performing as well in aperture priority mode.

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For dark portraits, you will have to function with a three-point lighting setup. I often use a LED flash light as my key light. This is bright, cheap and easily available. Use a similar light as your fill light too. Keep a ratio of approximately 3:1 for key light and fill light.

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Again, don't just follow the 3:1. Use any ratio you may, as long as the balance gets done properly. Remember, lighting is the most important part of your evening portrait photography. Don’t forget the hair light. This is used to separate your subject from the background and add a different facet to your photograph. If you are not able to setup a three-point lighting system, you can use your camera flash too. In such a case, you need to make sure that you don’t burn your subject’s face entirely. Use a flash diffuser to soften the light. When you are using a flash, widen your aperture and decrease the shutter speed. Use a fast prime lens like the Canon 50mm f/1.4. Decrease the shutter speed to 1/6 sec. This will let in a lot more light. Whether you want the background to be dark or not is entirely your choice.

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I like to keep my background visible which just about adds a bit of flair to my photograph without any notable distractions.

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Try evening and night portraits with and without a proper light setup and see the results. Use permutations and combinations all the way through and you will master the art soon!  

Portrait Photography Fashion Photography
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Pixean
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