Jump to content

Foolproof Natural Light Scenarios - Video

Recommended Posts

  • Members

When you learn to see natural light, you don’t even need a reflector or diffuser to create natural results. In particular, many photographers fear the harsh light of the midday sun, but if you know what you are looking for you can find flattering and interesting pockets of light. You can train your eye to identify these lighting scenarios and reliably find stunning light at high noon! 

There are three lighting scenarios I look for: 

1. Natural Reflector
Look for a large, neutral surface hit by the sun. This becomes an extremely large reflector that creates soft bounce light onto your subject. This could be light bounced off a side of a building, a car, a sidewalk, or any large neutral surface. 

Remember, the larger the light source is compared to the size of the subject, the softer the light. In other words, the light bouncing off a side of a building will create extraordinary soft (and flattering) results. 

Don’t stop there! Be sure to analyze other lights in the scene. Take a look at other light sources like the open sky, other reflections, or even direct light hitting the subject. Each will contribute to the end results. 

2. Covered Shade
Analyze the environment and look for a covering that your subject can stand beneath. This can be a porch, scaffolding, building overhang, or even an entry door. 

Covered shade occurs when the subject is out of direct sunlight and there is something overhead to block out the top-down light of the overhead sky. This is flattering light because it is frontal, indirect, and soft. 

After finding covered shade, analyze other light hitting your subject. Perhaps there is an opening to the side of the subject creating a rim light or another directionality of light. Maybe there is sunlight hitting a nearby wall that can act as a flattering rim light. Pay attention to all sources and directions of light in the scene! 

3. Slice of Hard Light 
On a sunny day, look for crisp shadows cast by the sun. This could be created by the edge of a building, an overhang, a street sign, and more. Hard light (required to create the shadow) is not ‘flattering’ per se but can allow for really interesting and creative photographic results. 

This effect is more pleasing earlier or later in the day when the angle of light is not from directly above. Midday light is more challenging to work with because the subject must angle their face to achieve catchlights or a bounce reflector will need to be introduced. 

In this video the shots were taken at high noon, and although a challenge still created interesting images. 

None of the images created here required any artificial light or even the introduction of a reflector/diffuser! Midday sun can result in stunning photographs… all you need is to analyze for flattering or interesting pockets of light!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...