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Portraits with sunset background

edited May 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I'm a newbie with this photography stuff, and have been learning a lot pretty quickly, but I've never had the chance to take pictures of other people; just scenery and objects for the most part. My friend wants me to take some photos of him for a cover. I wanted to do a portrait with the sun setting in the background. I know that probably goes against the grain, but it'll be cool. I have a kit lens and 50mm f/1.8 G lens. What lens and what settings would be the best for this type of shot?


  • edited May 2016
    Chances are either lens will work for this, depending on what focal length works best, because you do not need the very blurred background the fast prime is best at. If you keep aperture at somewhere in the mid range, it should give you a good clear subject and a recognizable background as well.

    This will be a challenge owing to the limited dynamic range between the bright sky and the back lit subject. It's a good idea, done often, but not really easy to do well.

    You may do best using a fill flash to light the subject without blowing out the background. If you want to go without flash, you'll almost certainly end up with an overexposed sunset or a too-dark subject. You can open up the dark shadows some in post processing with a program like View NX2, and you'll get a little boost from Active D-lighting, but it will still be a delicate balance at best. If doing this without a flash, I'd switch to spot metering, and meter the face of the subject. The sky will be blown out, but the subject properly exposed. If you want more color in the sky, you'll have to underexpose the subject some, and open him up in post.

    If you use flash, you're probably best off using one of the modes like Aperture priority, in which the flash defaults to fill, and thus does not mess up the overall exposure so much. Experiment a bit, and you may find that you also want to decrease the overall flash amount (flash compensation is in the [i] menu). You're likely to be better off with an external flash, or with reflectors, but for casual shots the built in flash can work pretty well.
  • edited May 2016
    Ok, thank you a lot. I think that about answered all the questions I had and questions I didn't even know I needed to ask. I appreciate that!
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