You know the scene.

You. Your loved one. And the perfect sunset. Perhaps on a beach in Hawaii?

You grab your camera, hand it to the nearest passer-by, and ask them to take your picture. They oblige, hand you back the camera, and are gone in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately, you look down at the screen and realize that, while the sunset looks great, you and your loved one look like black blobs.

Something like this…

Sunset Portrait without Flash

Now, don’t get me wrong. Silhouettes can make for some stunning photographs, but you probably want to be able to show your friends that it was indeed you on that beach. So, how did this happen and what’s the fix?

It’s quite simple.

Your camera “sees” the entire scene and determines that it’s very bright–after all you’re pointing it at the sun! So, the camera adjusts its exposure time to capture the beautiful colors of the sky…and not your smiling face.

The solution really is quite simple. TURN ON YOUR FLASH! No, not the auto-fire setting. That won’t work, because your camera will determine there is plenty of light. You need to turn your flash to “always on,” “manual,” “force fire” or whatever your camera calls it. This will result in your camera still capturing that beautiful sunset, but the flash will also fire just long enough to light up your smiling faces.

It should look something more like this:

Sunset Portrait with Flash

So, the next time you take any kind of photo of people in front of a bright object–like the sun–if their face is not facing said bright object, it will be in the dark, unless you turn on your flash.

Happy snapping!