Create your own natural light studio to make the most out of a small space (NSFW)

May 29, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Create your own natural light studio to make the most out of a small space (NSFW)

May 29, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

I often use flash with my own work, but natural light can be a wonderful thing. Especially when it comes from a directional source. In this slightly NSFW video, photographer Anita Sadowska discusses setting up for and shooting a lingerie session in her apartment. It’s interesting to hear the observations Anita makes about the light entering through the windows of the room as it changes throughout the day, and how it affects her shot.

YouTube video

Anita utilised her Canon 5D Mark IV along with a 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens for the shoot. She knew she wouldn’t have a lot of space, and expected to have the lens quite wide for most of the shoot. Occasionally, however, she did hover up as high as 60mm, which she says surprised her.

As Anita walks us through the session, the light throughout varied between hard and soft as the clouds flew through the sky. My own favourite kind of window light is when it’s cloudy. I love that big soft directional look that it gives. And it definitely seems to have worked here.

But when the clouds clear and the sun comes out, the hard light comes flooding in. It still works very well, although I still prefer the soft light shots.

As with any other kind of shoot, understanding the direction and quality of the light is important. The big difference between using directional natural light in this way vs flash is that your light source is in a fixed position. You can’t move the window (although you can move yourself and your subject). But, at the same time, it’s constantly changing. So, you have to constantly be aware of what it’s doing, and respond accordingly to get the best results.

As I mentioned up top, I thought it was very interesting to hear Anita talk about the light in her room and how it changes throughout the day. This is something that all of us can do in advance if we plan to do a shoot in our home or apartment with natural light. Just observe how it acts throughout the day.

Which windows does it enter at different times of the day? How does it look when it’s sunny vs cloudy? Is there enough natural bounce to backlight your subject or will you need a reflector?

Have you shot with natural light in your home? What challenges did you face?

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One response to “Create your own natural light studio to make the most out of a small space (NSFW)”

  1. Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    Natural light for me has always been a challenge… maybe because I want to be in control of the light. I use speed lights and strobes or practical lights.