Getting the Best Results When Shooting with Natural Light at Home

Most of us are homebound at the moment due to the pandemic, but you can still create great images at home using these natural light photography tips.

One of the tenets behind being a photographer is the mastery of light. Cameras and lenses aside, light is the most important element in image-making. Many professionals prefer to shoot with artificial lighting thanks to how it helps to deliver consistent and repeatable results. However, artificial lighting can be intimating. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new challenges as well. Even for photographers comfortable shooting with artificial light, not all of them own artificial lighting or have access to it while sheltering in place. The good news is that natural light is still available (provided that the weather cooperates). And as long as there’s light, we as photographers can create. Right now, the simple act of creating can be an important therapeutic exercise for many. Check out these natural light photography tips to help you create great images even when you’re stuck at home.

Continue reading…

You Can Learn How to Shoot with Ambient Light in Just Over 8 Minutes

ambient light

If you are new to photography and want to learn how to make the most of ambient light, this is one video you need to see.

Photography is nothing without light. We all know this, but it can actually be hard to know where to begin when it comes to capturing and harnessing the power of light when starting out. Luke Edwin has released a new video on his YouTube channel, and he looks at the subject of ambient light in a way that will help explain things very well to those who have just picked up their first camera. We have the video for you after the break.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: Quick Tips for Diffusing Window Light

Want to experiment with natural light on your next shoot? Try these easy tips for diffusing window light from today’s featured photography cheat sheet.

Shooting in natural light can be tricky but it’s also a flattering and readily available light source. Whether you’re shooting portraits or still life, the key to working with natural light is being able to modify it to achieve the look you’re after. This is where today’s photography cheat sheet comes in.

Continue reading…

How to Find Good Natural Light for Portrait Photography

Shooting portraits in natural light only works well if you have a good light source. Here’s how to find it, even in tricky locations.

Natural light is both a blessing and a curse for portrait photography. If the light is good, it’s easy to get beautiful and interesting results. Otherwise, you practically can’t work with it and will have no choice but to use flash. Therefore, half of the work is looking for the kind of natural light that works for the look you want. In a quick video, Sean Tucker brings some tips for finding natural light when shooting portraits, even in locations where it may seem to be difficult to shoot.

Continue reading…

Using the Zenit 85mm F1.4 for Natural Light Portrait Photography

Using the Zenit 85mm f1.4 on the Canon EOS R was challenging and interesting.

When it comes to using manual focus lenses like the Zenit 85mm f1.4, you really need a tripod or a monopod to make the most of it. It’s a longer focal length and that requires manual focus. When you do that, the simple nature of turning the battel means you’re going to stabilize the whole scene. That’s what I encountered with the Zenit 85mm f1.4 while using it. And unfortunately, it doesn’t have AF/AE contacts. This would have helped alleviate the issue as the Canon EOS R has arguably the best focus peaking and manual focus assistance in the industry.

Continue reading…

Photography Cheat Sheet: Making the Most Out of Natural Light

Want to shoot better natural light portraits? With the tips from today’s photography cheat sheet, you should be able to make the most out of different natural lighting conditions.

When done right, shooting in natural light can yield some gorgeous results, especially for portraits. But the main challenge with it is it’s constant light, so you have to make adjustments and adapt your shooting style and settings to account for that. Today’s photography cheat sheet especially addresses that with some tips on two styles you’ll typically use in natural light portrait photography.

Continue reading…

Natural Light Photography Tips from National Geographic Photographer Bob Holmes

If you prefer working with natural light for your photography, you will definitely pick up some great tips from National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes.

As basic as it is, shooting in natural light (or available light) remains popular among photographers because of its simplicity, convenience, and beautiful results. Many photographers prefer to work solely with natural light over using lighting equipment — and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can produce great photos and achieve your intended results with this method, then, by all means, go with it. But, it requires a lot of practice and learning to be able to make the most of it. You have to be able to understand how light creates and affects your image. National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes, who only does natural light photography, gives a bunch of great tips on how to get stunning photos in this method.

Continue reading…

Claudia Paul Committed to Shooting a Unique Portrait Weekly for a Year

All images by Claudia Paul. Used with permission.

“My personal trick to keep me on track was to use Facebook as a tool for accountability,” states photographer Claudia Paul about her Wednesday Portraits series. “I publicly announced the project and the goal to post a new portrait every Wednesday. This way I would feel like a fraud if I didn’t deliver.” Claudia Paul is a German artist working and residing in New York City as a commercial photographer. She frequently dedicates herself to non-profit work, and is always developing new personal projects independent of her paid client work. She created a year-long challenge for herself: create a new portrait every Wednesday. In the process, she developed a beautiful collection of images while exercising and strengthening her creative muscle and expanding her skills as an artist. Below we explore the project, Wednesday Portraits.

Continue reading…

Three Natural Light Setups to Try for Gorgeous Boudoir Photography

Whether you prefer to work with natural light, or don’t have studio lights yet, this boudoir photography tutorial will give you some great ideas.

Working with light to create mood is a significant component of beautiful boudoir photography. Some photographers prefer to do this by shooting in locations with gorgeous natural light. Others prefer working this way to make the most of available light and minimize their shooting setup. If this sounds like something you want to try, let this video tutorial by Los Angeles-based Michael Sasser be your guide on three ways to shoot with natural light for beautiful boudoir portraits.

Continue reading…

You’re Doing it Wrong: How to Shoot Flash Photography During the Day

The key to using a flash on camera during the day is all about power output.

When you think about using a flash, you’re probably thinking about only using it at night where you need more light. But, believe it or not, the best time to use a flash is during the day. It essentially helps you get a better histogram reading by filling in details all across the board. It’s also much better than using constant lights.

Continue reading…

5 of Our Favorite Capture One Styles Packs (Presets)

If you’re looking for presets in your transition to Capture One, here are some of our favorites.

If you’ve transitioned to Capture One and away from the slow processing speeds and sluggish workflow of Lightroom, then you’re probably missing one big thing: presets. If you’re a working photographer then you know presets help speed up your workflow and often help provide signature looks to the work you put out. While Capture One also absolutely gives you better color, we figured we’d share some of our favorite Styles Packs.

Continue reading…

How to Master Backlighting for Natural Light Portrait Photography

Want the dreamy look that remains popular in portrait photography today? You might want to learn how to master backlighting when shooting in natural light.

If you hold a preference for natural light portrait photography, you might find backlighting as one the effective techniques to use for creating dreamy images. It’s not as simple as just shooting outdoors with the sun behind your subject, but a technique with the goal of a moody yet balanced look for portraits. In this quick video tutorial, Sydney-based fashion photographer Julia Trotti show us how it’s done and we can master it. Backlighting is just one of the techniques at your creative arsenal once you choose to do portrait photography in natural lighting. It gives your photos that dreamy and flattering look that many photographers are going for fashion editorials, wedding photography, and even themed portraits. With Trotti’s tips, you can start experimenting with this technique in no time.

Continue reading…

An Introduction to Shooting Portraits in Natural Light

Don’t have a strobe or not sure how to use one? You can still create some good portraits using natural light

Photographing portraits using natural light as the sole light source have become such a rage lately that some photographers have branded themselves as “Natural Light Only Photographers.” While you can certainly create some stunning images with the proper use of only natural light, understanding how light behaves and being able to harness light in all of its forms, natural or otherwise, will help shape you into a better, more complete photographer.

Continue reading…

This Photography Meme May Trigger a Certain Type of Photographer

If you’re a photographer, get read to either laugh or feel very triggered.

There’s a funny meme going around on Facebook and now Instagram that is essentially harmless, but is so close to the hearts of many different photographers. It’s a play off of an old Batman comic where Robin is being slapped by Batman. It has been used for a number of different subjects, but the most recent is with regards to natural light photographers. Now, we’ve spoken about this subject many times in the past, and have been met with opposing criticisms as well as praise. The majority of us are very pro team “make your own lighting and use all available lights.” And many times, the term “Natural Light Photographer” is often just seen as a crutch.

Continue reading…

Creating Stunning Portraits Using Beautiful Golden Hour Light

While you don’t need the golden hour to get the best portraits, it surely does help.

For the uninitiated, Golden Hour describes the short, fleeting period of time just after the sun had risen or immediately before it is about to set. During this momentary window, the sun appears very close to the horizon and produces a quality of available light that tends to be beautifully diffused and typically embodies a warmer tone than usual. Portrait photographers, particularly those that rely heavily on natural light, often prefer to photograph their subjects during these ephemeral minutes because of the beautiful quality the light imparts onto their subjects. We have a wealth of tutorials here on The Phoblographer that cover topics such as portrait subject posing as well as how to best interact with your subjects to bring out the expressions you’re looking for, but for the purposes of this particular tutorial, we are going to focus specifically on the challenges that you will likely come across when photographing portraits during Golden Hour and what you can do to combat them.
Continue reading…

How to Edit Underexposed Natural Light Portraits on Lightroom and Photoshop

If you’re shooting a lot of natural light portraits, you might want to get some editing tips from this workflow tutorial if you like underexposing to retain details.

Whether you’re shooting more natural light portraits by choice or because of equipment constraints, it’s worth learning how to edit your photos from a variety of shooting conditions. Today, we’ve got a workflow video tutorial for you in case you often underexpose your photos to get more detail out of the scene or background.

Continue reading…

Please Stop Calling Yourself a Natural Light Photographer and Learn How to Light

To light, or not to light, that is the question.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say, “I’m a natural light photographer,” there would be enough money in my bank account to take off three months out of each year to travel for the fun of it. To the uninitiated, the proclamation that one only shoots in natural light may sound like a badge of honor, but to most working professional photographers, this concept is confounding at best and downright ridiculous at worst. Be that as it may, there is a growing legion of photographers who have embraced this “natural light only” mantra due either to their inexperience with utilizing lighting equipment, or out of some misguided notion that the “natural light look” is somehow superior. What if I were to tell you that all light, natural or otherwise, behaves identically regardless of the source, provided that you are photographing someone on planet Earth? If you understand principles of lighting and how it behaves, you can make artificial light sources look like natural light, and turn day into night, or vice versa. Being able to shoot 24 hours a day means that I can adapt to the needs of my clients as well as challenges posed by mother nature, which translates to more billable hours and more income. Sounds a lot better than only being able to photograph client work while the sun is out, doesn’t it?

Continue reading…

Three Modern Day Masters of Natural Light Street Photography

Ask a photographer what the most important aspect of a good photo is, and they will tell you it’s good light. 

Lighting will make or break a photograph. You could have the most interesting subject in the world, but if it isn’t lit well then you may as well forget about it. From softboxes to strobe lights; flashguns to Rotalights, we have come with wonderful ways of ensuring our sensors capture the best possible images. Unlike manufactured light, however, ambient light is much trickier to take control of. It often requires being a tad more creative and working with what you’ve got. That, overall, demands an adaptable mind that enjoys playing around. With the great work being produced underneath the earth’s sun – let’s take a look at the modern-day masters of natural light.

Continue reading…

Seven Reasons Flash Is Superior to Natural Light for Portrait Photography

Do you want more or less control over your lighting when photographing portraits?

With the number of portrait photographers proclaiming that they only shoot in natural light perplexingly on the rise, one begs to question why someone wouldn’t want to have full control over how they lit their portrait subjects. This is something that photographer Craig Beckta addressed in his latest video, where he shares the seven reasons why he believes flash is better for portraits than natural light.

Continue reading…

Golden Hour is Truly Your Friend for Natural Light Portraiture

For a simple yet lovely natural light portrait shoot session outdoors, you’d need an eye for detail, good gear, and good weather. 

If you’re planning to conduct a natural light portrait shoot sometime soon, you don’t have to look any further than this behind-the-scenes video by Toronto-based photographer Lee Zavitz of the YouTube channel Zed Pro Media for some inspiration. In his vlog, we can see Lee and his model Keira making the trip to a nearby park where cherry blossoms were in full bloom for an impromptu shoot. The only cameras he used were a Fuji X-H1 and a Sony A7III.

Continue reading…

How to Shoot Moody Natural Light Portraits

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you could create moody portraits, courtesy of photographer Ben Chambers.

We’ve featured a ton of tutorials on taking natural light portraits by many talented photographers here on the website. Today, we’re adding one more. If you’ve always wanted to perfect shooting moody natural light portraits, this tutorial by Australian wedding photographer Ben Chambers of Bach Photography is for you. In Ben’s 12 minute-long tutorial, uploaded on his YouTube channel, he showed the process of how he created a particular portrait shot, as seen above and below. He took the photo with a 5D Mark IV and Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art Lens but said that similar results can be achieved with an APS-C camera with a 35mm prime lens.

Continue reading…