Using Flash When Shooting Sunsets

You might think I’m going a little bit crazy here, but hey, don’t make any rushed judgments!

Yes, flash won’t help you to light the landscape but it can help you make your sunset photos a little bit different. Usually when you see sunset photos, the foreground elements of composition are silhouettes due to the high contrast between the backlight from the setting sun and the darkness of the foreground. Sometimes these silhouettes of objects or people look good in the photo, but sometimes adding a little foreground light can improve the final image.

In the following example you can see pretty much the same composition taken with (on the right) and without (on the left) the flash.

Sunset_2 Sunset_3

Click on the photo to enlarge.

While the silhouette in the left photo looks nice, using a little bit of light to show the cool red hair of the standing person adds a nice touch to the photograph. It also reveals a bit more detail in the foreground, though I’m not sure if it is a good thing in this case.

In the photo below I also used flash to light the foreground, and show the beautiful color and texture of the wood. Without flash this photo would have been too dark and much less interesting. Another way of achieving this result would be shooting several frames with different exposures and later combining them into an HDR image, but it would take much more time and possibly look less realistic.

Sunset_1

Click on the photo to enlarge.

These are only a few examples of endless possibilities which open up when you start using flash in many situations where it is not normally used, not only during sunset. For example you can use flash when shooting in harsh daylight in order to soften the hard shadows that daylight produces.

Hopefully this post inspired you and gave you a starting point for your own creative ideas when and where to use that flash that has been lying in your photo bag for too long 🙂

If you have any original ideas or examples of unusual use of flash, please share them in the comments.

Cheers,

Greg.

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