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. 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 subject's eyes, simply have them close their eyes until you are ready to snap the shot – and make that moment count.

2. Side Light
Turn your subject so that only one shoulder is facing the light. Then turn their 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 subject's lit shoulder.

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.

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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