Creating captivating nocturnal portraits during the daytime may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques, you can achieve stunning results that emulate the mysterious allure of the night. In this post, we'll explore how to manipulate your camera settings and lighting to underexpose the ambient light and capture striking nocturnal portraits in broad daylight.

Manipulating Camera Settings

To begin, you'll need to manipulate your camera settings to underexpose the ambient light. Start by selecting a location with minimal direct sunlight, such as a shaded area with trees, to avoid harsh shadows. Set your camera to a low ISO value, such as 100 or 200, to reduce the sensor's sensitivity to light. Adjust the f-stop to control the depth of field, ensuring your subject remains sharp while the background softly blurs, enhancing the nocturnal atmosphere. Increase the shutter speed to limit the amount of light hitting the sensor, ensuring you stay within your camera's sync speed for the strobe.

Harnessing Strobe Lighting

Attach a powerful strobe light to adequately illuminate your subject against the underexposed background. Utilize modifiers like a softbox or grid to precisely direct the light and prevent spill onto the background. Position the light to create a moody and dramatic effect, resembling the directional light of the moon or a street lamp at night.

Perfecting the Setup

Test your setup by capturing a few shots and adjust the strobe's power and camera settings as needed to achieve the desired exposure balance between the subject and the background. With practice, you'll master the art of creating convincingly nocturnal portraits during the daytime, captivating viewers with your ability to blend light and shadow seamlessly.

Enhancing In Post Production

While capturing convincing nocturnal portraits in broad daylight is an art in itself, the magic doesn't stop once the shutter clicks. Post-production tools like Lightroom and Photoshop offer a plethora of options to enhance your images further, adding an extra layer of creativity and realism to your nocturnal scenes.

Refining with Lightroom

In Lightroom, begin by fine-tuning the exposure, contrast, and color balance to achieve the desired mood and atmosphere. Experiment with the temperature and tint sliders to evoke the cool, mysterious tones of the night. Utilize the graduated filter tool to darken the background further, drawing focus to the illuminated subject.

Crafting Special Effects in Photoshop

For more advanced edits and special effects, turn to Photoshop. Create a new layer and use the brush tool to paint light onto the scene, simulating the glow of a lantern or distant street lamp. Adjust the layer's opacity and blending mode to seamlessly integrate the added light with the rest of the image. Experiment with different brushes and opacity levels to achieve the desired effect.

Adding Final Touches

Once you've added the desired effects, take a step back and assess the overall composition. Fine-tune any remaining details, such as sharpening the subject or removing distractions from the background. Pay attention to small details like highlights and shadows to ensure a cohesive and realistic final image.


Crafting convincing nocturnal portraits in broad daylight involves both skillful camera techniques and thoughtful post-production work. While mastering camera settings and lighting is crucial for capturing the initial image, post-processing tools like Lightroom and Photoshop offer opportunities for further refinement and creative enhancement.

By embracing post-production techniques, such as adjusting exposure and color balance in Lightroom or adding special effects like lantern lighting in Photoshop, you can elevate your images to new levels of depth and realism. Through experimentation and practice, you'll refine your ability to blend light and shadow seamlessly, captivating viewers with convincing nocturnal scenes regardless of the time of day.