STEP BY STEP / The twilight zone
1 Shallow and late
Around 20 minutes after sunset, the sky will turn deep blue. In aperture-priority mode, use a wide aperture. Take a shot of your model and look at the shutter speed. Switch to manual mode and use the same settings. Reduce the shutter speed by one stop to underexpose the image.
2 Colour Temperature Awesome
Put the colour temperature orange (CTO) gel on the flashgun and fix it to a light stand. Fix on a diffuser of some sort – we opted for a beauty dish. Trigger the flash with wireless flash triggers, which sit on both your Nikon camera’s hotshoe and under the flashgun.
3 Give it some height
Position the flash about a foot above the model’s head. Use the broad lighting technique: place the flash camera right or camera left (at whichever side of the model’s face you can see most of through the viewfinder). If they’re straight-on, it doesn’t matter which side you pick.
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 Nikon’s white balance to Tungsten. This change in white balance will make the backdrop even bluer, while the warmcoloured 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.