As a beginner photographer, someone who may not have an external light to work with, natural light is the most abundant and easy-to-use light available to him. Natural light is beautiful. Though its characteristics change over the course of the day, and as a photographer, that means adopting those changing characteristics, there are inherent advantages to shooting with natural light.
In this discussion, we’ll learn about a few of those advantages and how to work with natural light.
Golden hour lighting
The best kind of natural light is the one that you find at the golden hour. Depending on the latitude you stay in, that can mean about half an hour to about an hour before sunset and after sunrise. This is the time of the day when the sun’s rays pass parallel to the earth’s surface. The light is soft and orange-yellow in hue and is perfect for shooting beautiful portraits, group shots, food photography, and many other genres. You can also shoot excellent landscape photos as well.
You can also experiment with backlit portraits, silhouette photos, and anything else that may fancy your imagination.
Overcast conditions are a way of God saying that he loves photographers. It’s the perfect natural softbox that you can get. Great for colors, great for portraits, and a lot of other genres. Overcast conditions are excellent for portraits because the light is diffused and soft. Soft light does not produce harsh shadows, so it’s perfect for mainly shooting portraits. But you can also shoot flower photos and many other genres.
What to do when you don’t have overcast days/shooting under the mid-day sun
Overcast days are unfortunately not in your control. If you don’t have a cloudy day or shoot under the midday sun, it can get very difficult because the light is very harsh and difficult to control. The solution then is to shoot under shade. Find some shade, like that of a wall, a tall building, a tree (that produces dappled light), anything that works. Under the shade, the hard light of the mid-day sun is automatically converted into soft light.
Using a reflector
A reflector is a very common tool that photographers use. The job of the reflector is to throw some light back onto the subject and ensure that proper exposure can be achieved. Reflectors come in various shapes and sizes. You can get the 5-in-1 round ones that come in an array of five different colors. You get a white one, a black one, a golden one, a silver one, and a translucent one that works as a diffuser. Reflectors can be used in any situation. But they’re particularly useful when you’re shooting outdoors in hard lighting situations. These reflectors can help you to fill in the shadows.
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