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Sunset Picture
Greetings..

I am doing a family portrait with the beach and sunset as the background..

I have a D200, 28-70 and a SB800..

Any suggestions on settings, focus mode, or general tips....

Thanks,Phil..

Comments (11)

You'll definitely need to use fill flash or reflectors..

David..

Comment #1

I frequently do sunset portraits of wedding couples. The concept is fairly simple. The main thing to remember is that the exposure for the sunset and the subjects is completely different and controlled by different things. You must shoot in Manual mode. Meter the sky and get a proper exposure. It's probably going to be around 1/90th to 1/250th at ISO 100 at f8.0.

Shoot a few test shots of the sky ans see how it looks. If it's getting dark on you go ahead and bump the ISO to 200. Set the SB800 on iTTL and it should handle proper exposure on the subjects. You may need to bump EV on flash down to -1/3 or -2/3 if it looks too hot on subjects. A flash diffuser of some kind can help make the blend of light look a little more natural, but not necessary.

You don't want in over exposed grass or rocks in the foreground. Make sure you shoot RAW so you and tweak things later..

Example:.

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Comment #2

Try to avoid getting the actual sun in the photo unless it is quite well screened by clouds. Otherwise you could end up with a "burnt" part of the photo. Important to get exposure right too. Maybe set exposure for people (if darker than sky) and than "auto bracket" the shot with different exposure settings? Prob a tight window of oppurtunity so maybe an experimental shoot the day before with a willing family member? hope they appreciate the effort your putting into.What I see I shoot...

Comment #3

Pavelowd200 wrote:.

Greetings..

I am doing a family portrait with the beach and sunset as thebackground..

I have a D200, 28-70 and a SB800..

Any suggestions on settings, focus mode, or general tips....

Thanks,Phil.

First, take a few test shots and experiment....

This is the process I use....

1. Put the camera is manual mode.2. Use an ISO that you are happy with regarding image noise. Try 400 or below..

3. Adjust your shutter and your aperture for the ambient light...that's the background.4. Try using a shutter of 150 or higher to stop motion5. Use the shutter and aperture to fine tune the exposure..

6. Use your speedlite as fill... dial down the FEC (flash exposure compensation) atleast -1 EV...you want to use the flash as fill. You only want to "kiss" them with a touch of light! But you can dial up or down the FEC as needed for the foreground exposure..

Think in terms of this...in essense, you have two planes of lighting...the background and the foreground..

Use the shutter and the aperture to expose for the background, and your speedlite to exposue the forground..

Here's my example... In my opinion, I used too much flash for this photo....

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Regards, Mike.

B.R.A.S.S. (Breathe, Relax, Aim, Sight, Squeeze).

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Comment #4

Do exactly what that photographer says!!What I see I shoot...

Comment #5

Thanks....The pressure is on! I would love to go out and practice, but they are leave town tomorrow morning and asked for the picture last night!.

Should I bring/use my Gary Fong disfuser??.

Thanks for the input.

Phil..

Comment #6

I am still new to the D200. Would you shoot it in Dynamic ARea - Closest subject or Single Area??.

Thanks Again.

Phil..

Comment #7

I personally think using a diffuser like this outside is a waste...there is nothing for the light to bounce of off; the moon maybe? Nah, it's just to far away! .

Outside, you will get as better results using your flash on a flash bracket...or simply mounted in the hotshoe....and aiming directly at your subjects..

Ok, let's go to the beach!!!   It's time to take that photo!!!.

This is what I would do...first...turn off your flash! Put the camera on a tripod, and put the camera in manual mode..

Now take a series of photos until you have a properly exposed BACKGROUND; take several until you are comfortable with the background exposure. This shouldn't take more than 1 minute, 3 tops...unless you are being attacked by seagulls! I presume the background will be the sand/ocean/sunset, and you'll want a decent depth of field (in-focus) of the ocean as well as the sunset too, so think of starting with an aperture of f/11 or a little higher, and an ISO of 400. And keep an eye on that histogram. As you take your series, change your "shutter speed" to fine tune the exposure, and try to keep the shutter speed atleast in the 1/125 s range. If you can't, this is where you can use higher ISO's to help balance between the shutter and the aperture..

It might seem complicated, but it's dang easy! Try and set two of the three variables upfront (aperture and ISO), and then use the third variable (shutter speed) to fine tune the exposure..

Once you have a properly exposed background, get your family into position and now switch on your flash. Put your flash in TTL-II mode, and dial the FEC down to start out at -1 EV, and click a few photos, and adjust the FEC until you have your family correctly exposed..

And there you have it...your shot...a balanced exposure between the background and the forground!!! .

The key is this...again, to balance the exposure between the background with the shutter/aperature/ISO (ambient for the sand/ocean) and the forground with your speedlite (your subjects)..

Total time should not take you more than a couple of minutes...by the way, you can pratcice this in your yard too...or in your living room!.

Good Luck...May the Force Be With You!.

R/ Mike.

Pavelowd200 wrote:.

Thanks....The pressure is on! I would love to go out and practice,but they are leave town tomorrow morning and asked for the picturelast night!.

Should I bring/use my Gary Fong disfuser??.

Thanks for the input.

Phil.

B.R.A.S.S. (Breathe, Relax, Aim, Sight, Squeeze).

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #8

Thanks for your patience with a padiwan learner!.

Here are my results...Please C&C.

All the best,.

Phil.

Http://philpics.smugmug.com/gallery/3879955#224875390..

Comment #9

Good shots. I'm sure the family will be very happy with them. It's difficult for me to tell how much sunset color exsisted in the imaged before the running on the beach final ones. I don't know if the earlier shots were before sunset or if it's an exposure difference. In the effort to provide CC, I would have probably exposed the sky about a stop down to bring in more color. If you shot RAW I would try this:.

1. Extract another jpg at about 1-1.5 stops down on exposure.2. Open the new darker image in Photoshop.3. Open the orignial image in PS and select entire image and copy4. Paste as new top layer over the new darker image.

5. Use a large, soft eraser brush at about 20% opacity to selectively erase the lighter sky to let the darker show through.

An alternative to this would be to do the -exposure extraction and open both JPGs ina tool like the great, free FDRTools HDR program and see what it can creating a new tone mapped version..

The images are good and completely sellable as is, but give the a try and see what you think. Good job though, nice poses...

Comment #10

I thank everyone for there input....The advice and info made the difference..

Thanks,.

Phil..

Comment #11

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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