STEP BY STEP / The twi­light zone

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

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.

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