The city I live in boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. Except on days when I have a photoshoot booked and need sunshine, it seems! So what to do when you’ve got a client and you want beautiful golden hour light, but the weather just won’t cooperate? You fake it of course!
That’s the beautiful thing about learning to shoot with any kind of light. You aren’t beholden to the whims of metrology. In this video, Lindsay Adler walks us through her setup to create a very natural-looking golden light for her portrait shot.
Lindsay took inspiration from Mark Seliger’s Oscar award portraits from a few years back. It’s always fun to deconstruct other photographers’ work and Lindsay has done a great job creating something her own using a similar idea.
It’s actually an incredibly simple setup, achieved with just two lights. The key light is a large umbrella with a diffuser, placed facing away from the subject. The light is bounced onto the wall opposite.
Lindsay explains that she did this to emulate light bouncing around the room. By doing this, it creates a much more natural feel to the light.
Now for the golden light. It’s actually placed outside the window, behind the subject. This is something that is often done on film sets to create natural-looking light. But as photographers, we don’t often think to place the light outside and shine it through a window.
However, as we can see it’s a great effect that can convincingly emulate natural sunlight. To further make the light feel like the low sun at golden hour, Lindsay adds a CTO gel to a bare bulb.
To further convince the viewer that they are looking at natural light Lindsay adds a Tiffin Black Pro Mist filter onto the lens. This helps create a beautiful soft glow around the highlights. Of course, this could be done in post, but it’s always nice to get it right in-camera.
Lindsay also walks us through her thoughts on post-processing the image. I find this fascinating and extremely useful to hear not just what she changed, but most importantly why. The thought process behind the post-processing makes a lot of sense and will help you to better see what needs to be changed in your own images. In the end, it’s all about drawing the eye back to the main subject and eliminating anything that could distract from that.
It’s a beautiful final photograph and uses simple classic lighting techniques and post-processing to their full. This is definitely something I intend to try on my next shoot. Heck, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow!