Saturday, August 16, 2008

More natural light


While on vacation, I infrequently bothered with my flash equipment. I was always on the look out for nice lighting for a portrait session. The above photo was one such time. The setting sun to the right provided a nice orange colored fill light on the right side of his face, and the soft cloudy sky provided a blueish rim light on the left side of his face. I just had to figure out a good rotation of the subject, and then my placement in relation, to best take advantage of the lighting. I normally hold up my hand, and rotate around it till I see the lighting hitting my hand in the way I would want it to hit a face. (the light, not my hand)

In this case I thought the setting sunlight was a more flattering shade, so I used it as the fill, and rotated Agust until it hit a good portion of his face. I then moved from left to right, to get the angle of him that I wanted. It was fast and painless, but a very nice soft light, with good color contrast.


Here is another example of a naturally occurring flattering portrait light. This is a mausoleum in Hollywood Cemetery (Richmond, Virginia). There is a door behind the camera, of the same size and shape of the far door you can see behind me in the photo. This let's in a nice directional, soft light, but the darkness of the interior kills the rest of the light. This way you get lit surfaces facing the window, and dark shadows on surfaces facing away. You can see the shadow from the mausoleum walls on the right side of my face. In addition to the lighting, the dark walls with bright window provide a framing element to bring the eye to the subject's face. Good environmental portraiture will have interesting elements surrounding the subject, but they won't steal focus from the main attraction.

Look for directional natural light sources for flattering portraits. Look for framing elements. Look for contrasting colors in your light sources. When you search for good natural light, it can give ideas for cooking your own lighting setups later.

More found light portraits:
summer_vacation-32 summer_vacation-15 summer_vacation-19

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