Natural light setups
Discover how window light can be all
you need to create dramatic results.
When you use studio flash, you almost
always modify it, such as by using a softbox. When working with natural light,
keep the same idea in mind. The net curtains in a living room are ideal,
diffusing the light in much the same way as a softbox does. This is an ideal
technique for photographing a bride on her wedding morning.
Aside from the large window and net
curtains, a small silver reflector is used to bounce a little back onto the
side of her face. A shallow depth of field reduces unwanted detail so a wide
aperture of f2.8 is ideal. By ignoring the camera’s meter and slowing the
shutter speed, we’ve been able to overexpose the shot and create a high-key
effect without any flash.
Getting the shot
We’ve asked our model to lean into the
curtains and rest her head on them while looking back at the camera. We’ve also
asked her to wear a simple white top to match the texture and tone of the net
the model to sit on the floor and look away from the camera as if deep in
thought creates an appealing image.
Rather than positioning the model so that
the light is falling onto her face, you could also try posing her with her back
to the light source. If there’s enough space in your location, perhaps you
could even consider getting the model to sit down or go for a full-length shot.
A small reflector is used to ensure light
bounces back onto the model from the window behind her. This setup almost
exactly recreates the studio setup we tried using just two background lights
and a reflector. Just as we did then, we’ve opened up the camera’s aperture to
ensure that the model is correctly exposed.
Getting the shot
Ask the model to look off to the side and
slightly overexpose the image again. Ignore the camera’s meter. If you expose
for the background (in this case the window light) not only will the model end
up being very underexposed, you will also record detail from outside such as
cars and brick walls.
reflector is essential here to ensure that your subject’s face is not
Pros and cons of natural lighting
Natural light is free! It doesn’t cost you
anything to use and it’s all around us.
Images taken in natural light look closer
to what our eyes actually see in everyday life.
You can’t control natural light to the
extent that you can control flash lighting.
On very dull days or in low light you’ll
need to use a camera that can perform well when using high ISOs.