How to use flash for your photography: Post-sunset portraits

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4. Bright eyes

With the flashgun in manual mode, set it to around 1/16th power to expose the model’s face. By underexposing the background, and correctly exposing the model with a flash stronger than the ambient light, the model becomes the brightest part of the scene.

5. Balance those whites

Put the CTO gel over the flash head and set your camera’s white balance to Tungsten. This change in white balance will make the backdrop even bluer, while the warm-coloured CTO gel will ensure the model has natural skin tone, relative to the white balance.

6. Check for clipping

Take another shot. Check the exposure of the face and look at the histogram to ensure nothing is clipped (bunched up at one end or the other of the histogram). If your model is too bright, as in our first shot, decrease the flash power. Increase it if they’re too dark.

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