NATURAL LIGHT


The big debate whether to use natural light or some form of artificial light has been around for years. I am always intrigued why some togs feel the need to tell you that they are natural light photographers.


If you tell me you are a natural light photographer I just assume you cannot shoot with either strobes, flashes or constant light, but if you tell me you are a photographer, then I assume that you understand all light.


Let me be clear, I LOVE shooting in natural light and will do so every chance I can get. It's challenging and I love that about it. It changes all the time .... no 2 days are the same, even hours can make a difference and I find that exciting.


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I was asked, many years ago, if "I could see light"?

I thought then it was rather a silly question.


Can't everyone see light?


As I spent more and more time photographing in the streets, I realized that light was everything, you could not have a great photograph without having great light.

I only realised, years later when I was complimented on my use of light, that I could, in fact, "see light".

I think back to the time I  was asked that question, and it clear now that that person could see that I couldn't "see light".


I can look at images now and almost always tell whether the tog can "see light"


As much as I love natural light, there are times that you cannot capture the mood, the feeling or even the images because of the lack of light and it becomes clear that you need to take your journey further.

I have been shooting with strobes for about 10 years now and have created some beautiful images. Images that I wouldn't have been able to capture without them.


BUT, I shoot with natural light whenever I can. I have put together a selection of images I have taken at my studio using just the light that streams through my door and windows.


These are a few images captured with the light coming through the window.


You will see, sometimes I open the window to create more contrast and shadows and sometime I put a curtain up if the light gets too harsh.

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Opening the window can give a completely different effect. The images have more contrast and the hard light gives crisp shadows.


The love of these hard shadows also comes from my street photography.

Most togs tend to stay away from this kind of light and prefer the soft light.

Neither is wrong, it comes down to what story you are trying to convey and both have a place when lighting your subject.


Widows open or windows closed gives you a completely different mood.


Learn how to do both.


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In this image, the windows are closed which softens the light but still creates an interesting background with the panes casting the horizontal  shadows.


Although the light is still relatively hard, the light fall still gives a dramatic and moody feel.

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The light coming in from the door is, again, completely different to the window light. There is no diffusion at all and a lot harsher there. That, of course, also depends where you place your model.



So lets have a look at some examples.

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So here the model is standing in direct sun. It is early morning and the sun is fairly low in the sky so the light is streaming into the door.


I have put a white V-Flat behind to create even more contrast and also use the shadow of the door to create some interest.


See the difference or black and white V-Flat will change the look and feel of the image.

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These next images I have moved the model away from the door and you can immediately see how the light has softened.

The big difference is the direction of the light that come through the door - that's the secret.


So by moving less than 2 meters you are getting a completely different image.



This is what makes working with light so exciting.

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Back to the window, but this time shooting from the outside in. Same hard light but this time using the window to create some cool shadows and creating some attitude.

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Here just playing around with the V-Flat creating a sliver of light from the window.

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And that's a wrap.


You can create both hard and soft light using natural light.


So I ask you ........


"CAN YOU SEE LIGHT?"



My next blog will be about STROBES ......... See you then.

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