April 20th, 2007
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about shooting exterior photos at twilight. Recently Cherie Irwin a RE photographer who works out of St Louis, MO was showing me some of her twilight shots and remarking how much the her client liked the photos. The shot above is my favorite of the series that Cherie showed me. I find that home sellers are usually dazzled by twilight shots. We frequently have home sellers ask for twilight shots because they have seen others on our web site.
I think the crux of shooting shots like this is knowing when to show up for the shoot. Although a Google of the search term “sunset times” will revel a number of sites that will help you with knowing when twilight and sunset is on any given day my favorite is the site for the US Naval observatory site.
By just entering the city and state you are located in it will give you a number of Sun statistics for the current day. For example, for April, 20 in Seattle, WA it says that sunset is 8:06 PM PDT and end of civil twilight is 8:39 PM PDT. My experience is that I get the best shots about halfway between sunset and end of civil twilight. Sunset is not quite dark enough and end of civil twilight is too dark.
Of coarse, you need to use a tripod because exposure times will be 5 to 30 seconds depending on the aperture you use. You also need to spend some time going through the home and turning on all the interior lights to get the most dramatic effect. I frequently use large continuous lights inside to boost the amount of light coming through the windows. I’ve also seen twilight shots where continuous lights were used outside to focus light on the outside of the home. I’ve never done that myself but I’ll have to say I like the results I’ve seen with this technique.