SHOOTING WITH NATURAL LIGHT
This first lesson is all about lighting. In my opinion, the lighting is the single most important thing for the photo! The lighting is way more important than the camera, the lens or any of the gear that you use. If you have good light when you shoot it’s almost impossible to fail! ?
And the best part – you don’t need fancy studio equipment! No flashes or softboxes or any of that, just move to a window! Trust me when I say that a lot of professional photographers work exclusively with natural light, so you’ll be in good company! My advice to you is to master natural light first! Then you can start experiment with artificial light!
Having setups that are too complicated will only make you frustrated and ultimately hinder your ability to get to the next level. So let me share my top 3 for shooting with natural light!
1. Turn off any artifical light
The first thing I do during a photo session is to turn off any artificial light in the room. The reason for this is that different light sources have different temperatures/colors. The light from a light bulb is a bit red, while natural light is bluer. So my tip is to never mix light sources! Different light sources will cause the photo to have both blue and red parts, which is not looking good and kind of hard to edit afterward.
2. Shoot on a clody day
When I first started out with photography I thought I needed as much light as possible in my photos. I thought that a sunny day with blue skies was the perfect day for shooting. But as I started to experiment with natural light I learned that that is NOT true. Actually, it’s the cloudy day that’s the perfect day! If you compare these two images you’ll see what I mean!?
The image to the left is taken during a sunny day while the image to the right is captured on a cloudy day
Photos taken in direct sunlight have very harsh shadows and tend to end up with too much contrast. The bright areas are often too bright and you might lose some details in the photo that could be tricky to recover (even if you use proper exposure). Photos taken on a cloudy day, on the other hand, have softer and smoother shadows.
3. Tame the light
In case you have direct sunlight pouring in through your windows when you’re shooting there are ways to handle it. Professional photographers often use diffusers or screens similar to this one to soften the light. In case you don’t have that, try to hang a translucent white cloth or curtain in front of your window. The light will then spread out nicely and you will get beautiful shadows.
Behind the scenes from one of my photo sessions where I used the diffuser, but since the light was too bright I also used some leftover garden fabric! ?