lthough shooting in the studio requires a certain type of knowledge, shooting with purely natural light is a skill set of its own. You must learn to approach an environment and really see the light. Once you identify the light, you must learn how to position your subject so that the light is flattering, or you must utilize natural light modifiers to shape the light. Figure 8.1 is an image taken completely with natural light, but it looks like a scene from a movie. The subject was standing in a narrow alleyway, so the light in the foreground gave frontal illumination to her face, whereas the light at the end of the alley gave her a stunning hair light. You, too, can find striking light like this. But first you must take the time to see natural light, and then you can decide how to modify it.
There are dozens of books and instructional DVDs based solely on the topic of natural light and natural light techniques. For the purposes of fashion flair, I will cover some basic natural lighting techniques that I regularly utilize to achieve a pleasing effect.
Although I love shooting in the studio because of the control I have, I love the feel of natural light and shooting on location. When I was starting out in my photography business, I mostly shot in the studio because I believed that what made a professional photographer stand out was her expensive studio equipment and her ability to make studio light images. This was far from the truth, however. I've found over the years that my clients generally prefer shooting on location with natural light. They love the richness of the light and interacting with interesting environments. A professional photographer stands out when she is able to really bring out the energy and beauty in a location.
Following are a few tried and true natural light techniques I utilize regularly.
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