You might have heard a photographer talk about Natural light before. We kinda sorta live for it. But what exactly is natural light and why does it matter?
Natural light refers to any light from the sun and its reflections.
It’s the easiest way to light your subjects and create those professional and timeless photos.
Because the sun rises every day, and it’s always the same. (not to mention, free!)
Artificial light, like the fluorescent bulbs in lamps and overheads, can cast colors and odd shadows that highlight all of our flaws. Natural light, when used correctly, softens skin tones and creates timeless images that even your great-grandchildren will want to hang on their walls.
Fortunately, if you are reading this it means you live in a time where great cameras are everywhere! Whether you have an iPhone or a professional grade camera you can use these tips to create beautiful photos.
How to use natural light indoors:
- Find the room with the biggest windows and lightest colored walls. Turn off all lamps and overheads. The bigger the light source = the more even coverage on your subject.
- Try a reflector for added light. Think white sheet, pillow, blanket, anything to bounce light back onto your subject.
- Stay within two feet of the window to achieve the best results.
I’ve found the best time of day is between 10am and 2pm.
How to use natural light outdoors:
- Place the sun behind your subject to create a halo effect and make them pop off the screen. (if you get haze, shuffle your feet to adjust your angle or use your hand to shade your lens!)
- Look for open shade. It’s when you’re standing in the shade of an object, like a building or tree, but can see the sky above you. This is the most flattering light and my favorite to shoot in.
- The easiest time to backlight and find open shade is within 2 hours of sunrise or sunset. Use an online sunset calculator to see when exactly that is for your location and the time of year.
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Grace Paul is a natural light family photographer serving the greater Nashville area. Her favorite days are spent with camera in hand, soaking up the sun, and baking all the cookies with her 4 sons.