.PLAYING WITH NATURAL LIGHT
Photographers are always concious of lighting, which is why it is so fun to play around with it as the smallest change in lighting can change the whole dynamic of an image.
Primarily I am a photographer who uses natural lighting as I prefer the feel that it gives rather than a clinical studio lighting. Yes, studio lighting can be manipulated in a controlled way and turned to look like anything, but shooting outdoors, or even inside with natural lighting, has a feel and quality about it that I love.
I have found that with natural lighting when doing a shoot, or even just out and about with a camera, you find a lot more scope for interesting images as the lighting is always changing. If shooting with a model in natural lighting you can spot a lot more and the smallest of movements in the model can change colouring, shadows, composition, and dynamic in a split second.
This image below was shot while sat outside having a BBQ before going to my graduation ball. It was a beautiful day and I had to run inside to grab my camera as the shot caught me.
Yes this shadow could be created in the studio and with lighting, but the simplicity of it and the movement in the hair and hat have been captured and without being overly posed. I have always found that images I take in the studio seem to be very posed and the model almost feels like they have to because of the clinical feel and surrounding to it. I am able to put much more of my personality and style into images that I have taken with natural light sources.
It sounds like I’m telling everyone to start shooting outside, but I know a lot of photographers are scared/get overwhelmed when using the studio. Everyone has their own ways of working and I found that I work better out in the elements. It’s ok to not want to use a studio, as a photographer (which is a medium within art) you are creating pieces of art in a way that you want to. The industry makes you feel like you should be a studio buff, but photographers should do what they want. Photography is personal and you shouldn’t let people dictate how you should do something, unless they are a client.
As I have stated, I use a lot of natural lighting in my photography, but there are instances when I am out and the artificial lighting catches my eye, like street lights for example. My dad is a hockey goal keeper so I attend the odd training session and take photos for them, but then also things that catch my eye for my own portfolio.
This photograph was taken at the end of a training session that was held in the evening and the only lighting there was pitch flood lights which created amazing shadows and contrasts. I had to get a photo of my dad in his helmet and the tones that were created in his face (purples and yellows) created a simple and dynamic image. It’s all about working with your surrounding and judging what will work or how to make it work. I had no intention of taking an image like this when I left the house, but as it started to get dark, I fell in love with the lighting that was presented to me. This is why it is good to go around with a camera on your person as much as you can as you never know what is going to happen and what may capture your eye. A high quality photo you can work on and sell is much better than a snap on your iPhone to put on Facebook when you are kicking yourself for not having a camera (this has happened to me on so many occasions).
SHUTTER SPEEDS & APERTURES
When you start learning photography you are told to learn how shutter speeds and apertures affect each other and what they do. I have never really been able to get my head around it, despite being told that “before you can break the rules in photography, you need to know them”. You don’t need to worry if you aren’t the most technical photographer there is, as long as you are able to create a shot and be creative with the equipment you have.
When playing with natural lighting, you are constantly having to change settings so that the images don’t come out too dark or too light as the sun goes behind small irritating clouds constantly during a shoot, but sometimes having the wrong settings can make for really interesting images without you knowing. I use the in-camera light meter as a mere guide so that I can play with shadows and highlights with the subject matter/model in my own way. There is only so much that you can do in Photoshop (unless you are really confident and know how to use every tool to their full advantage) with creating light. It’s always good to get the lighting relatively close to what you want to use to save messing around too much later.
I have always been a rule breaker in photography and have been looked down upon by teachers, tutors, and class mates for doing so, but I’m happy with my style which is how everyone should be. Rules are there to be broken and challenged an I worked this out from a young age (in life and in photography) so I recommend just playing with a camera and finding a way in which you work best with it. I have never read a manual for a camera and never plan on doing so, I work best by playing and shooting to help me learn how to use the camera to my advantage.