Today, we’ve got a really quick portrait tip for everyone and it involves creating the look of the Golden Hour when the sun isn’t setting. Granted, sometimes the best time to do this is during the blue hour or at a time when you’ve got everything nearly perfectly lined up in the frame.
So how do you do it?
Essentially, you take a flash and put a warm filter gel over it. But before you even do that, balance your camera’s white balance to daylight in order to ensure that the color variable in the scene doesn’t change at all.
This all started when I pitched the idea for a recent project to the couple: Eli and Grace. Eli was taking a bit longer to get ready and by the time he was ready the sun was already down. So it fell to Mark (my lighting assistant) and I to recreate the look of the Golden hour.
To do that, Mark got to a higher elevation and placed the flash in just the right spot. After the flash was gelled it started to create the effect of sunlight coming down. Ensuring that the camera was automatically balanced to daylight also really helped here.
What’s really cool about this is the lens flare that many modern lenses try to keep down at all costs. However, I feel like that eliminates character in the scene. This however, doesn’t do that. There’s character and there is also the specific scene that the couple are making when expressing their love for grilled cheese.
The scene was shot using an Adorama Flashpoint Zoom Lion flash and an ExpoImaging Flash gel. The camera and lens were the Sony a7 and the 35mm f2.8 Zeiss lens. The settings were ISO 1600, f3.2 and 1/50th. That gave us just the right ambient light and flash output blend. Why ISO 1600? Because the flash output was being nerfed by the gel–something that you always need to consider when working with gels.
Personally speaking I’ve got no problems even keeping this shot wider because the stand can look almost like a tree branch due to the depth of field effect.