Shaping Images: Blending Natural and Artificial Light
Natural VS Artificial light is a hotly debated topic. Spanning social media groups, blogs, and workshops. Either side is quick to let others know which method is superior. Most photographers start with natural light and then slowly start to learn studio lighting, and some get comfortable and never branch out.
I have always been a huge supporter of using everything possible to get the shot you want. If that means fashioning some tin foil on a wall with duct tape to bounce light with your cell phone flashlight, then so be it! If you could use all tools available to you, why wouldn’t you?
Living in the Pacific Northwest, sunny days are but a dream 9 months out of the year. It has taught me to be creative and do what I can to shape the light on my subjects. This meant using natural light and artificial together in harmony.
Recently, I have been using light and shadows to create interesting texture in my images. In my studio we have west facing windows with some really hideous and out of date window blinds, that I usually like to hide. I found that a few hours before the sun starts to set, the light hits the blinds just right. Now I have a playground of light and shadow on the studio floor.
If you have ever tried to photograph a bright object encased in shadow, you know that it’s really tough to find a good middle ground, where you can bring up the shadows and diffused the highlights.
That is where I found myself, when attempting to use the light seeping through the blinds on my subject. The highlights were blown out and shadows too dark. I lost all the detail.
The Set Up
I added a 60” Photo Softlighter umbrella with a Yongnuo YN585EX speedlite at ¼ power, camera right and pointed towards the model. I needed to expose for the highlights and bring up the shadows.
I was finally able to save all the detail and achieve the look and feel I was going for.
1/1250 F/2.2 ISO 50