Master Harsh Natural Light Photography
Learn how to take amazing photos with this harsh natural lighting tutorial
Chances are as a photographer, you don’t always get to pick the perfect lighting conditions for your shoots. Learning how to work in less than ideal conditions is essential in developing your skills and improving your photography. The cool part is, even harsh noon day sun can create amazing photos. You just need to know how to use harsh light to your advantage.
In this tutorial, Kayleigh June shares the benefits of shooting in harsh midday light and how you can actually use it to your advantage in certain situations.
Why you should use harsh natural light to take photos!
Strong midday natural light is not known for being the most flattering and is often quite harsh leading many photographers to actively avoid shoots at this time of day.
But there are advantages that can enhance your images!
And it can be specifically useful for outdoor beauty photography/potrait shots.
Here are some of the upsides to shooting in harsh midday light!
Using Harsh Natural Light Benefit #1: Creates Interesting Shadows
Shadows caused by midday outdoor light are typically seen as unflattering, however there are ways to turn this into your advantage as well
For example, you can use this to put shadows onto a surface to create an interesting pattern, like a leaf shadow or other textures from cool angles.
Try this in midday light, using the natural elements to cast interesting shadows across your composition!
Using Harsh Natural Light Benefit #2: Can Give Skin a Great ‘Glow’
Getting shots with great glow on a model’s skin from lighting is something you want especially when doing make up or skin product shots.
This effect is produced very naturally and effectively in bright mid day light and can create an effect that is difficult to reproduce in a studio.
This bright light will highlight and display make up/foundation on a face beautifly if you get the angle just right.
It will illuminate the skin tone and make it look fresh and natural.
Using Harsh Natural Light Benefit #3: Retains Textured Details in Skin Tones
Texture (details that visually describe how something physically feels) for the skin is good for beauty photography.
Getting plenty of texture when photographing helps reduce the amount of re touching needed in post shoot editing.
You want sharpness and detail involved with beauty photography, and bright midday sun helps capture this when you get shots with the right angle.
Using Harsh Natural Light Benefit #4: Illuminates the Eyes in a Beautiful Way
You do need to be careful with this one.
You don’t want to blind your models by making them stare at the sun. But you need to direct how the model rases their face up to the sun.
Try angling the shot in a way that can illuminate their eyes without them staring into the sun.
When done will this creates a very cool illuminating effect of their eyes that is difficult to reproduce in the studio!
Using Harsh Light Benefit #5: Enhances Different Types of Makeup Styles
Different make up styles look better in different lighting set ups/situations and not every style will work with midday light.
Certain styles though really come to life in this light.
Any thing that catches the light and really shows that detail on the skin, specifically glitter textures, really works in this lighting.
Textures are enhanced in this light so a make up style that has a lot of texture will come to life even more.
Getting better at working with this harsh and often unruly lighting will help you with your photoshoots!
If you’re able to work with all sorts of weather conditions you can maximise the time that you have on your shoots.
Also there are some effects that really can’t be captured the same with out it!
Want to improve your photography skills? Check out this full photography skill guide!
Which of these harsh lighting tips will you use the next time you’re taking midday photos?
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