You can achieve so much in an image if you’re aware of what’s happening with your light. The other day when we did the quick portraits of Mike and Melissa I was explaining to them why we were breaking out the Alien Bee and the big softbox to take their photo. Why not just put the camera on “auto” and fire away?
At the time this image was snapped we were experiencing full on sunset. The sun had already dropped behind the mountains in the background. It was a pretty scene. Sure, Mike and Melissa are looking good, decent exposure on them, but because I metered on them in “Auto” mode the sky behind them was completely blown out. No cool detail at all.
This second image, shot mere moments prior to the auto shot, has the detail in the sky I wanted. It also tells you the story about the time of day. The first image has a super bright background where you can see the dirt lot area we’re in. With the sun down, that area was darker. I underexposed the image to get the sky’s detail, and then we lit Mike & Melissa with the Alien Bee and softbox.
No other edits were done here. Just a quick example.