You scouted your location. You checked the weather. You know the sunset time. Your subject is there with perfect hair and makeup with time to spare. It all comes together. The perfect flaring sunset through the oak trees in the background.
As anyone that has tried to plan a shot like this knows, even if you have all your ducks are in a row, and even if those ducks have their watches synchronized, the smallest glitch can derail the shot. A change in weather, hair and makeup running long, equipment problems or simply the sun being in a slightly different position than expected and you can’t get the shot you planned.
The solution is to remove as many of the uncontrolled elements as possible and eliminate the time pressure. Put the sun where you need it, when you need it.
The day we shot this was completely overcast. There was no sunset, and this shot was taken facing roughly north. It could have just as easily been taken at noon on an overcast day or at midnight facing any direction we wanted. The light in the scene is entirely created giving us the freedom from time pressure and the ability to set the shot up anywhere we wanted regardless of compass facing.
The subject is standing on a drive way in front of Antebellum Oaks. At the end of the drive way is a stand of oak trees. The sunset shining through the trees is actually an Einstein with a long throw projector and a half cut CTO gel. It was approximately 50 yards down the drive way behind the stand of oaks. The subject was lit by a second Einstein with a 3’x4′ gridded softbox just out of frame to the right. By removing the uncertainty of available light we were able make several variations on the theme over half an hour instead of making only a few images during a 5 to 10 minute interval.
Of course, if you find this type of light, if it is just there begging to be photographed, take the shot without hesitation. But, if you want to produce an image like this on demand, as a command performance, trying to do so without a plan to create it from nothing is planning to fail.
He is a self taught experiential learner who is addicted to the possibilities that new (to him) gear open up. He loves to share the things he has worked out. Andrew started with a passion for landscape and night photography and quickly branched out to work in just about every form of photography. He is an ex-software developer with extensive experience in the IT realm.