Light Options for Light at Dusk or Dawn


by Nikki Harrison

So, you are a natural light photographer but you never really caught on to using off-camera flash, or you are afraid of it, or you simply hate to haul all of that extra equipment around. I hear you!

On a number of my sessions, I use off-camera flash via a Prophoto B1 and love the results I get with it for outdoor portrait work. However, I will be the first person to admit that I’m lazy enough to opt for something a bit easier to carry around.

But what do you do if you are shooting on location in the early evening and you know you will need more light on your subject? If you already have issues with off-camera flash and you’re just not too sure how to use it, what are your options?

Personally, I love using continuous lighting. My preference is the Ice Light by Westcott, but my handy-man husband has also gerry-rigged some LED hand-made lights that work quite well. So, if you are one of those Do-It-Yourself’ers, you might want to try that as well.

You may be asking yourself by now if there are any benefits to adding this kind of light at dusk or dawn. Or, you may be wondering what effect it will have or if it is worth the effort. My reply would be, “Yes, there are many benefits to using continuous lighting and, yes, the amazing effects are well worth the effort!”

Here are some images I have taken at dusk using my Ice Light and with my homemade version as well.

Settings: I am a self-confessed Bokeh Lover. Therefore, I always go for the most shallow depth of field when shooting outdoors. My lens of choice when shooting at dusk will always be my Canon 85 1.2 for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is an amazing lens for darker situations. Secondly, I love the delicious bokeh it gives my images.

Other Options: What if you don’t have a handy spouse and you are reluctant to invest in the incredible Ice Light by Westcott? Actually, you can use something as simple as a candle as seen in the above illustration.

Nikki Harrison is a Portrait Artist from Western Canada and an instructor at the 2017 Texas School of Professional Photography. Her class, “Whimsical-Ethereal Portraiture,” demonstrates her flair for creating whimsical “versions” of her clients, consisting of mostly women and children. For more information on Nikki, check out her class at: