New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Gavin Wade Photographers, Orange County Wedding Photography Tips & Tricks

How We Shot It – A Natural Light Portrait by Gavin Wade

By Pye Jirsa on October 8th 2012


SLR Lounge’s Welcome and Intro

What’s up guys, this is Pye. I would like to introduce and welcome our newest writer Gavin Wade to the SLR Lounge community. Gavin is a local photographer and friend of ours who we thought would make an excellent contributor to the site. We were excited when he was as enthusiastic about writing for us as we were having him on board!

Gavin and Erin run a wedding and portrait photography studio out of Orange County and have a photographic style that I absolutely love. While Gavin and Erin are experts with on and off-camera lighting, they choose to define their style by shooting primarily natural light photographs.

On a side note, when I first met Gavin and he told me that he and Erin were primarily natural light photographers, I will admit I sort-of rolled my eyes in my mind thinking “their stuff is probably just like everyone else’s.” It is an understatement that I was quite surprised when I saw Gavin and Erin’s work. Gavin and Erin have trained themselves to be experts at seeing and using natural light to create consistently beautiful imagery.

For those that dig Gavin’s style, I also wanted to throw out that he is doing a 2 day workshop coming up soon which should prove very beneficial. I will include all the info below the article as well.

Here is Gavin’s first article on How We Shot It below:

Background and Vision

Gavin Wade Photographers, Orange County Wedding Photography

We’ve all had times when we’re on a shoot and we see a spot that we think will look great, but when you look at the back of your camera it’s just not what you’d hoped..the light is all wrong. But you’ve committed already, you’ve got your subjects there and you can do one of two things. You can bust out some lights, get those remote triggers set up, reposition your couple after a few test shots….and then maybe get what you wanted. OR, as many of us do, we just say “well that didn’t work” and move on. We’re all 100% guilty of at some point in time seeing location only and trying to repair the rest.

On engagement sessions especially, when we’re working quickly and being very fluid in how we interact with our couples, all we have is the natural light around us. Recognizing the type of light that will allow you to succeed in getting your subjects and their emotions to stand out can make or break an image.

How We Shot It

Having subjects back-lit and pivoting them so that their background is darker gets us that pop and natural separation in the image. Also, all shade is not created equal! Learn to recognize not just the shade but the light that is feeding into that shade. We love shade that is created by smaller objects so that there is still light all around us. In this image no reflectors or light modifiers were used, but instead the light we did have was coming from the dirt path we were on…light with a temperature that complimented the skin tones of our subjects so that we could manually set our white balance to create an image with color that is true and that invites you into the moment.

Camera Settings

Here are the settings and the image straight out of camera.

 Camera: Nikon D3
Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 at 160mm
ISO: 200
Aperture: 2.8
Shutter: 1/160
Kelvin WB Setting: 6250K

gavin wade photographer, orange county wedding photography

Add a little bump in the contrast/saturation with some subtle dodge/burn and we have the final image shown below:

Gavin Wade Photographers, Orange County Wedding Photography

Finding the light that we know will allow us to succeed allows us to cut down dramatically on our post processing and manually setting our white balance allows for batch WB corrections if color needs some adjustment. We know learning and applying these are much easier said than done, it takes practice in seeing everything else first and looking at your subjects last!

Click HERE to jump to see the entire post from this engagement session

Final Note from Pye

Gavin was too shy to mention his workshop called Talkshop, so I am doing it for him, haha! Gavin and Erin are extremely talented and their two day workshop is focused not only on photography, but also workflow and the business of photography. I have actually heard it was quite good, otherwise I wouldn’t allow it to go up here =). There are only 15 spots open, so be sure to check out the details below if you are interested.


To find out more about Talkshop visit

See more of Gavin and Erin’s work at

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting

    | |
  2. Ed Rhodes

    amazing shots! thanks for the lighting diagram

    | |
  3. Gardenhillphotography

    I checked out the full post and those are great images. Very well composed!

    | |
  4. Brett Hickman

    Gavin and Erin are masters at natural light. I’ve taken their talkshop in the past and I couldn’t recommend it more. It’ll change your photography for the better. Plus, they’re great people.

    | |