In this natural light photography tutorial, I will give you some photography tips I found very useful throughout the years.
First of all let’s explain why natural light photography is different to studio photography.
In the studio, you are the one pulling all the strings. You are in charge of the light, the model, the styling, everything.
This is both a blessing and a curse. You can create those circumstances that are exactly what you wanted it to be.
However, it takes great skill and knowledge to be able to direct all variables simultaneously.
With natural light photography, we take away one of those variables. The light will be up to the weather gods.
However, you can turn the odds in your favor using the following tips.
Cloudy day? Jackpot!
Whenever the days are sad and gray, this is the time you want to do some amazing portraits.
As the sunlight is diffused by the clouds, you get a beautiful soft lighting on the skin of your model. A softness
that is extremely difficult to replicate in the studio using a flash.
Avoid direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight is an absolute don’t when you are shooting models. The contrast in her face will become
extremely hard, the model will look like she is biting into a lemon and the whole atmosphere of the picture is gone.
There are a few ways to still shoot during a sunny day. The easiest way is to find some shade. This will allow you to get rid of that ugly contrast on her skin and bring back the softness and beauty we all search for. The second trick requires you to buy a diffusor. A diffusor is a frame with translucent white fabric in the middle. It allows enough sunlight to pass through but also loses that hard contrast. The way to use this diffusor
is by putting it between the sun and the model. The benefit of a diffusor is that you can shoot anywhere you like. You are not limited to only shooting in the shade. The picture you see above was actually taken on a very sunny day. I positioned the model so that the balloons were providing shade for her. If you get a little creative, anything is possible.
Using natural light indoors.
You can also choose to use natural light indoors. Make sure there is no direct sunlight on that window. A rule here
in the northern hemisphere is, shoot close to a window facing north. This will guarantee you to have soft light every time you use that window.The beauty of sitting close to a window is that the light on the model will gradually become darker as the only soft light source is the window itself.Therefore make sure your model is looking towards the light.
Bring warm clothing.
Always make sure your model can change into something warmer while you are looking at your pictures and deciding what to do next. If he/she gets too cold, they won’t be able to focus on expressing the emotions you want them to.
Always have a plan B.
Similar to landscape photography, make sure you have some other options available. Be creative and flexible when using natural light.
If you want to learn more about photography, I provide both Courses and Workshops in Groningen.
Click here for Dutch