People often ask me about my post-processing when they look over my natural light photography. To be honest, the post-process I’ve developed has been a combination of small tutorials I’ve taken over the years from artists I respect. I’ve since developed my own style from these tools, but the most important part of post-processing is having an image that will take it on well. In this article, I will be talking less about the post-process and more about how to utilize natural light. In order for proper digital development, the shot has to be versatile for the final result.
The greatest joy for me, as a photographer, is utilizing light to produce a moving image. This can come in any number of forms, from the smallest single strand of light against a face or a subject in a field mid-afternoon. It’s imperative to train the eye to the spectrum of natural light. The only way to do so is to shoot constantly.
In this image of this subjects, we shot after quick clothing change and went outside. We had nothing overhead them to make even light across their faces, but as the sun was going down, we were able to make use of that golden light. There is still a strategy to use here to make sure it is even though. I had them stand in the middle between a cruise ship and a tall buildings, so it could reflect the disappearing light onto her from both sides. Early on in my photography I was primarily shooting wide-open outdoors, while it offers great flexibility in shooting portraits, it’s equally over-exposing the background. This typically happens when shooting with only sky behind a subject, so if you’re able to find even light where the background isn’t so transparent, a more comprehensive image can be produced.
This next image for me is what really started playing with think about window light in portraiture. The curtains on a window really help to diffuses light so it pleasantly falls and use as a hair light to create an outline around their head in a way that really pulls our little model, out from the background.
It also offers a dreamy, thoughtfulness if the model is less engaged. I also love how the post-processing technique I use rolls through and lifts blacks/shadows, giving them that hazy look. In this image we see a variety of shadow/light play, from the almost over-exposed window area to the under-exposed shadows on her left. These flow nicely over her face, Generally a window will provide as much light as you’ll need, depending on how close the model is to it. In this image I shot her on a Nikon D7100 using the
Nikon 24-70 2.8
at f/2.8 I kept my ISO at 200, despite being indoors. This allowed me to shutter her at 1/125s
I hope you enjoyed these Portraits. If you have some shots to share please do so in comments below.