Shooting with Available Light | Transcription

Since we’re focusing on natural light, we’re going to be working with the available light around us. Now, available light is not necessary sunlight, shade, hard light, or soft light. It simply means the light that is present within the particular scene, naturally. So, available light can come from indoor lightbulbs, or from outdoor natural sunlight, anything that is available in the scene. Again, in this workshop we’re focusing on lifestyle photography, which means we’re going to be using available sunlight with a reflector as a modifier. Why? Because this is going to give us the best look for this type of photography because we are fairly limited in controlling this type of light, say, compared to a portable strobe or a hot light; we need to plan our shoots around daylight. Generally, if say, our shoot is 3 hours long, we’ll plan for out shoot to start around 2.5 hours prior to sunset and last 30 minutes after sunset during dusk. What we typically will want to avoid are times of the day where the sun is directly over our heads and interestingly enough, there are only a few hours each day that I would consider tough lighting conditions that I wouldn’t shoot in. Basically depending on where you live and, of course, the time of year,  there are about 4-6 hours that would be this type of lighting condition where the sun is essentially not directional in the sky and coming straight down over our heads. That nondirectional light will give us lots of crazy shadows underneath our eyes, a very unflattering look, so we want to avoid that.

So, morning sunlight is a beautiful time to shoot, and you can shoot really, up to 30 minutes prior and up to 4 hours after the sun rises with great natural light results. You simply need to have a couple that’s willing to get up at 3AM to get ready for this. So, this is generally not something that clients, or ourselves, want to do. That means the vast majority of the time, your portraits are going to be occurring in the afternoon and late afternoon during sunset. So, as long as the sun is casting directional light, I can face the clients back towards the light and we don’t get any crazy shadows falling over any areas that we would get if the light wasn’t directional, if it was straight over our heads, then we are good to shoot, we’re golden. If the light is directly over our heads, then we’ll need to use much more advanced lighting techniques to eliminate the harsh, overhead shadows that the sun is going to create. This generally means that 4-5 hours prior to sunset will give you directional enough light to use these natural light techniques that we’re going to be teaching here. We’re going to be showing your some pretty cool lighting techniques that will allow you to create some pretty amazing images with just a reflector and sunlight. In fact, we can even pull off a 2-light setup with simply a reflector as a key light and the sun as a rim or as a hair light.