How To Improve Your Golden Hour Portraits

How To Improve Your Golden Hour Portraits


(upbeat music) – Welcome to my channel and today’s video I’m going to quickly talk about how to start taking epic sunset portraits with one studio light, so let’s do it. (hip hop music) Now you can do a lot of cool stuff with your couples during sunset. In today’s video I’m going to explain three ways you can utilize the sun. The first way is, you can
have your couples backlit, which is similar to what I have here in the studio right now. Creating a rim light behind my shoulder, so this light is just
giving me separation from where I’m standing and the background. I would say about 80% of photographers, including myself, will prefer this method, this way of creating
separation with the sun, and all you have to do is just really bring your reflector
closer to your couples. Have your assistant hold a reflector, balance light onto your couples, and your images are gonna look golden. The second way is that
you can have the light in an angle where the light
is coming on one side. This is basically split lighting, so you have one side of the face lit, and then the other side of
the face more in shadow, and I really love utilizing
this when I’m shooting guys because it creates a more
dramatic, edgy look, which I like. The third way, you can
have the sun straight on onto your couples. Just keep in mind that the lights, they are going to be very harsh, but you can use a diffuser
to soften the light. Here’s a diffuser, this
is how they look like. I’m sure if you already own a
reflector, there’s one inside, so you can unzip your
reflector and pull it out. If you don’t have one,
I will recommend getting a reflector and getting a diffuser. This is a must have tool in your kit. If you decide not to use a diffuser, I will recommend having your couples looking at each other,
looking to the side. Don’t have them looking
at a camera too much, because they’re just gonna be blinded, and just gonna be very uncomfortable. One thing that I try to do sometimes, if I want to get one or two
pictures looking at the camera, is I have them close their eyes and just say, “One, two,
three, open, smile.” And I just capture a couple
of frames super fast, and then I just move on. Now if you do decide to add a diffuser, make sure that you adjust
for your colored temperature as well as for your exposure, but you can warm up your images in camera by using your kelvin, and you can do it in post later, but it’s just less
wiggling around in post. So just know that adding a diffuser is gonna cool your images, so make sure that you adjust for that. Just know that this is really up to you. If you’re going for
that look of harsh light and edgy, by no mean do so. I’m just trying to provide
you with a few options so you know how to tackle every situation. Another thing is knowing exactly what time the magic
light is going to happen. It’s very crucial that
you get to know this, so figure what hour exactly what time the sun passes over the horizon, and that’s going to depend
on the time of year, your location, they’re plenty of apps and websites that you can nail
the exact time and location, in order to know when to
begin your portrait session. Remember you only have
a short amount of time to capture those pictures. Approximately about 10 or 15 minutes, you might have a longer span of time depending on your location. If you’re shooting in the city
where there’s tall buildings, or as we were at this park,
there were a ton of trees, you will have a shorter amount of time. Another thing that you wanna keep in mind is that you will need
to adjust your setting every few minutes because
it’s getting darker. I would share more in the
behind the scene video. I will share all my settings, and give you a few more tips for shooting at sunset with a flash or a strobe. My hope is that you guys can take better photos during golden hour. So let’s jump to the behind the scenes from Yohaita and Seth
during their sunset time. All right so let’s dive in, so as you can see I’m giving the couple some direction on how to pose. Today we’re focused on lighting, but as a side note make sure that you always direct your couple, you tell them visually,
exactly what your vision is. As you will see on camera right
I have a Westscott Softbox with white interior attached
to a Einstein strobe on a sheet of stand with a Vagabond Mini external battery pack, which is hanging off the
side of the light stand. The reason that I introduce
the strobe in this location is because the quality
of light wasn’t so great, and by adding a little
bit of artificial light it will enhance the image. So I went in real quick to swap lenses. I was shooting with a 35, and I was just getting
too much on the frame, so I decided to switch to
a 85 just to go tighter, and I also like the 85 better than the 35 when I’m shooting portraits. What I want you to
takeaway from this section is that you don’t always have to introduce artificial light into your
images for a dramatic effect or for overpowering the sun. In this case I’m just really
improving the quality of light, creating directional light,
also enhancing the image in a way that’s very subtle. I’m just filling in those
shadows for a better image. Now here I went for a more
dramatic lighting effect because I wanted it to
incorporate the sunset, and I also wanted to expose
for the couple as well. Welcome back I will make sure I include the links in the description below. For the strobe and the
wireless system I use, in case you are interested in using them for your next session. Hope today’s video improves your golden hour portrait skills. Let me know in the comments below if there’s a particular technique or topic that you will like to
see in my future videos, I will love to do that for you guys. As always, make sure you
subscribe to the channel, and I will see all of you later. (upbeat music)

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