Saturday, February 17, 2018

Recreating a Sunset Using Flash

One of the problems we have as wedding and event photographers is that we usually don't have any control over the environment we are shooting in.  If the church uses their Kindergarten room as their bridal room, you can't ask for another room.  If the weather isn't to your liking, rescheduling the wedding for another day isn't an option!  You have to play the cards you are dealt, and still capture the day the way your bride wants to remember it.

Off-camera flash (OCF) can be a powerful tool in these situations.  You can use lighting to accent some things, and de-emphasize other things.  You can use both the intensity and color of lighting to create a specific mood for your photos.

Last year I was second-shooting a wedding the same weekend that the remnants of Hurricane Harvey blew through our area.  The sky was solid overcast, and I knew early on that there was no way we were going to get any sort of nice sunset.  The venue had a small pond with a dock that stuck out into it.  It was a great setting, but the bland available light wasn't going to do it justice.  Nothing that adding some flashes couldn't cure.

I put my most powerful flash (a Godox AD200) on the shore near the dock, facing the couple standing on the end of the dock.  This was going to be my "sun".  I didn't raise it up too high, because I wanted to mimic a low sun right before it dips below the horizon.  I put a Full CTO (Color Temperature Orange) gel on it to give a warm glow.  I had a second flash on my camera to provide  a little fill, so the side of the couple facing away from the "sun" wouldn't be in complete shadow.  I used a 1/4 CTO gel to warm it a little, but not as much as my "sun".

The resulting photo had a nice warm romantic feel to it, but the sky was still an ugly gray.  I lowered the white balance of the image from normal daylight (5500 degrees Kelvin) to 4000 degrees Kelvin.  This cut down the orange somewhat, but it added a wonderful blue tint to the sky and water.

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