How I achieve the Dreamiest Sunset Senior Sessions | Idaho Senior Portrait Photographer

Senior sessions quickly became one of my most sought after services early on in my business, and so many clients come to me requesting the beautiful, glowy sunset pictures. These are my favorite, and if I can, I will make these pictures for my clients every chance I get!

But there is a trick to them, and the biggest one is finding the correct lighting for the cause. Yes, standing a client with the sun behind them right at sunset, is stunning! However, that sunset moment only lasts, well, a moment. So how do I fill a whole full senior session with these glowy pictures? By finding these lighting situations. Each section below is broken up in the different lighting situation with a little explanation to help you find and conquer it!

No. 1 : Spotty Shade

Spotty shade is one of the best ones to find. This lighting situation is where you find a location that has a tree covering the main light source, with lots of speckles of sunshine on the ground from the sun. Photographers will want to expose for the shade here, and it will make the background have all kinds of bokeh – AKA my favvvvvv.

No. 3 : Open Shade

Open shade can be a tricky one to explain… But the best way you can identify it is standing in a shady spot, and looking directly above you. If you can see the sky, this classifies as open shade. If you see a tree, or a building overhang, etc, it does not classify as open shade. You will want to get to a place where there is nothing above the client, and face them away from any objects that may reflect onto them, and viola, an open shade spot! My favorite open shade situations are in the downtown area, sidewalks with trees and behind a hillside closer to sunset. This creates the most creamy background with little contrast, unlike the spotty shade spot.

No. 4 : Back lighting

This type of lighting scenarios basically means that I face my clients with their backs toward the sun, and I shoot toward the sun. If the lighting drops low enough, it may go behind a hill or tree. but if it’s still high enough to be seen, it will create a gorgeous halo or light in your clients hair.

Warning – just be cautious of sun flairs with this lighting scenario. This can make it to where there is not a haze on your lens and wash out your client. That’s not what we want. 🙂

This is what is utilized during the time just as sunset is happening in your area.

No. 4 : After Sunset

Immediately after sunset, or once the sun has gone behind a hill, I turn my client around toward the direction of the sun and shoot the last bits of the light shining on the location around them. This can be a lot of time if you live in a valley like me, but may only be for a short time if your area is flatter. Either way, this time is also known as blue hour, but actually can be very warm if you hit it just right!

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