Late Afternoon to Deep Night

Last month some friends and I got a chance to do a photo session on a beach somewhere south of Manila. Swimwear photo session, Yey!. Weather was cloudy and with a little drizzle when we got to start the shoot. It was around 4:30 pm already.

I have with me my basic outdoor setup; a camera, a zoom lens, a flash, trigger and receiver set, a large zip lock bag (to protect my flash from the slight rain), my DIY bowl reflector and of course a sheet of CTO.

It was getting darker due to the rain clouds, but there was enough light to shoot with ambient. But I don’t like to go ambient when its getting darker, I don’t like bumping my ISO so high that I can see the noise when I look into my LCD. My sensor is not that great handling low light and noise and I like to use my flash and it’s hard light hehehe.

Since it’s getting darker, I wanted to make an image that looks like night time and the light would be coming from a Lifeguard tower and will hit my subject downward.

I wanted to cut the ambient light, so I set up my aperture to f8.0, my shutter speed to 1/200, the max sync speed I can get. My flash is on 1/4 power roughly 3ft to 4ft away from my subject and on the right side of my camera and angled downward, almost split lighting her. Attached to my flash is a sheet of CTO to make the light warmer and a DIY reflector bowl to make it directional and the light shape to be circular.  Below is the test shot…

The test shot with flash and CTO, f8, 1/200, WB is still set in Daylight. Warm and yellowy.

Photo looks weird isn’t it? that’s because my white balance is still set to Daylight. A simple tweak in my white balance and setting it to Incandescent and tweaking it more to go to the bluest color will give me a blue background, my night time scene and the skin of my model will go back to its original tan color. You can also use the Kelvin range if your camera has that option and set it to a higher number.

Below is the final result of using an Incandescent white balance and CTO. We just moved a bit farther away from the water as I am getting wet, I don’t have any spare clothes to change to. Aperture, shutter speed, flash power settings and distance are the same with the test shot.

Final image with Incandescent white balance


Try experimenting with your white balance and combining it with different color gels, I bet you’ll get awesome effects.


*I found out that the zip lock bag that I used to cover my flash against the rain made the light a bit softer/diffused and the CTO more yellowish in tint.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s