This week we will be looking at adding style to your natural light photographs. Recently I have shot against my usual style, which is off camera flash. The reason for this being I want to challenge myself to shoot in different circumstances and to gain more experience when not using flash. The image above was a commissioned client shoot. The location was Selby abbey. It wasn’t the planned location, but hey, when you stumble upon a location this good, you gotta use it. And when you have an amazing selection of headpieces from Creations by Liv Free to use, we probably couldn’t have unplanned it any better haha. As you can probably tell the image didn’t pop out of the camera looking like it does above. I wanted to take natural light photography and infuse it with my own style. So let’s get into how I did that. [Read more…]
When you decide to take the step from natural light and start shooting with artificial lighting, you may not know where to start learning. Daniel and Rachel from Mango Street have teamed up with photographer Daniel DeArco to introduce you to the basics of studio lighting. And when they do it, it seems less scary and it will help you successfully take the first steps.
Shooting on location presents all kinds of lighting challenges. You’re at the mercy of the weather, and thus the light. And which light is “best” is a huge matter of personal preference. Some prefer the softness of a cloudy overcast day. Others like that harsh bright direct sunlight. Although the latter is not always that flattering.
There are things you can do to overcome this bright harsh sunlight, though. This video from photographer Manny Ortiz shows us his process, and how he works through these challenges. And it might surprise you to see that not all of them require the use of flash.
Sometimes it’s good to get out and flex the old photography muscles by shooting a little differently to how you normally would. It keeps the soul young and the stops the boredom from creeping in.
This is exactly what I did a few weeks back when I had a client shoot come in, who wanted natural light, Dark beauty themed images. I myself love flash, I pretty much always use a flash whether shooting composite or location, but I wanted to take this small challenge on. The shoot was great, I got to shoot in Selby Abbey, such a beautiful place. The thing with buildings like that though is they are usually gloomy. So natural light plus large gloomy, gothic abbey equals some ninja like editing afterward. When shooting natural light I tend to underexpose and then bring back detail later in Camera Raw. I had no choice in the abbey but to shoot dark, I even had to raise my ISO (something I hate haha) but I like a challenge now and again when editing to realize the vision in my head. SO I will walk you through the steps it took me to get to the image above.
One of the advantages of artificial lighting is that you can control it and direct it as you like. Controlling daylight is another story. It’s not so easy to increase it or reduce it to your liking, especially not to be super-precise with it. Koldunov Brothers have come up with a clever DIY solution for adjusting the amount of natural light in your studio. It seems pretty simple to make, it takes very little investment and a bit of your good will.
“Natural light photographers” is a strange term. To some it’s a badge of honour, stating that they either don’t need to use flash to get what they want, or that they simply don’t like “the look of flash”. To others, it’s generally derogatory, suggesting that somebody only uses natural light simply because they don’t know how to use flash. But both are excellent options for lighting up a subject.
Calgary based photographer Nathan Elson utilises both in this comparison of shots in the studio and outdoors using flash and natural light. This behind the scenes video posted by Nathan just goes to show that no matter which is available, there’s ways ways to bend it to your will.
there plenty of ways to achieve the lighting you want or use the one you have. In this video from Derrel Ho-Shing, you’ll see differences between three different light sources and setups. He’s shooting the model using natural light, a flash, and high speed sync. Same model, same location, same time of day – yet pretty different results. Which one is your favorite?
Do you prefer natural light over studio light? Peter McKinnon does, and in his latest tutorial, he shows a simple way to make your own “natural light” when you don’t have enough of the real one. And not only is it simple, but you can make this setup for about $80, maybe even less. If you shoot and/or live in a place with little natural light, this setup is a lifesaver.
Shooting outside in bright sunlight scares many photographers. I always see people saying to not go out and shoot portraits when the sun’s high in the sky. To wait until golden hour and shoot in the sunset, or only go out on a cloudy day.
Well, I think that’s nonsense. There’s so much you can do with bright contrasty sunlight. In this video from Shutterbug Magazine, photographer James Patrick shows us five great tips for working with it.
A lot of the time when we look at a well executed image we think about how it was lit. And a lot of times, the strobes and softboxes and other light modifiers photographers use have a huge impact on the final photo.
But sometimes having a good natural light source and a good understanding of light is all you need.
I saw this photograph by photographer Maxim Guselnikov and was surprised to learn it was all natural light.
Maxim told DIYP how the photo was made: