If you wanted to capture a close-up portrait of a couple utilizing the sunset as a beautiful backdrop, could you?  If you wanted to capture a close-up portrait of a couple utilizing the sunset as a backdrop and you had no external lighting apparatus, could you?  Well of course YOU could!!  You all are professionals!!  But me??  Well, I had my doubts!!


Over the weekend, I was your typical grandparent snapping pictures of my granddaughter’s Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party!!  Well…OK…maybe “typical” is stretching it a little.  And..maybe “snapping” pictures would be what most of the others were doing with their little pocket point and shoot cameras!  No, I was there to capture the event…and capture it I did!!

But, let me quickly get back to the question at hand.  I wanted to see if I could manipulate my camera with only a built in pop up flash to capture a decent portrait with the sunset as my backdrop.

My first attempts were shot in Aperture Priority, which proved to be unsuccessful as the shots were overexposed with the flash washing out the subject’s faces.  Of course, auto was never going to work because the camera will only set itself for one element within the frame.  Expecting your camera to interpret two contrasting elements, such as a sunset which requires a longer exposure and a night portrait which requires a short exposure with some fill flash, is a mistake I have made all too many times.  I know…I know!!  I was an auto shooter for so long because it was so much easier.  But believe me, your camera cannot think as well as you can!! 



With “Karaoke Korner” only minutes away, time was of the essence!!  (OK I have to admit, I was a little mystified about the karaoke myself.  But if you could have seen the reaction of 50 people when you bust out the disco lights and hear the intro for “SWEET CAROLINE”…well, it’s a scene I find difficult to describe!!  From the young kids to the older kids and everyone in between, you place a microphone into their hands, and something magical happens!!) 

Hands…touching hands…reaching out…touching me…touching you…

But, I digress.  Now, where was I?  Oh, yes.  I decided to move to Shutter Priority.  I have to admit nearly 100% of everything I shoot, I shoot in Aperture Priority Mode – mainly because I want to control my depth of field.  But this would require a fast shutter speed to prevent facial washout, yet slow enough to capture the essence of the sunset in the background.

And this is the result…

Oh yeah…who are these people? 

Party Crashers, I think!!

Just kidding!!  This is my oldest son and his beautiful wife!

Here’s another tip you could try:

  • Turn your flash off
  • Aim your camera at the sky
  • Depress your shutter button half way and hold
  • Keep your shutter button depressed halfway and recompose your shot
  • Turn your flash back on
  • Take the shot

Now, go out there and give it a try!!

Happy shooting!


~ by photographyfree4all on May 23, 2011.

3 Responses to “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE??”

  1. Hey, he’s got your eyes. 🙂 Great shot, Steve.


  2. HAHA! Thanks, Bob!!



  3. What a great picture of two Special People!!


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