Having a studio with flash lighting can be great for shooting fashion. However, sometimes you don’t have the space or the money for such a studio. Sometimes using natural light for fashion photography creates a better look for your work. Either way, using the sun and the clouds is a great alternative to getting your pictures. And if you find that your pictures still don’t turn out the way you want, there’s an easy fix. Using the Sleeklens Chasing Light Workflow you can turn your fashion photographs into amazing pieces of art.
Time of Day
When shooting outside in the direct sunlight, you need to pay attention to the time of day. The first and last two hours of sunlight are the best times to shoot. During these hours the sun is soft enough of a light source. The angle of the light will strike the unique bone features of your model’s face and create flattering shadows and planes of light. However, with the sun directly in front of the model, the face gets washed out. With the sun directly behind the model, the entire body and face will be covered in shadows.
To get the best photo using natural light, you should shoot with the sun to the left or right of the model. This angle will help get you the best fashion photo from natural light. When shooting in direct sunlight, it is also best to coordinate with darker fashion colors. Using natural light with light colors can wash out the colors and ruin the fashion (which is the focal point of your photography).
Shooting in the Shade
If you can’t find the time to shoot in the morning or evening, finding a shady spot is a great way to keep using natural light. Somewhere like under a tree or beneath a tall building can also add a certain mood to your photo. However, if you’re shooting in the shade, you run the risk of losing important details in both the model’s face and the fashion.
To help counteract this, you can use a reflector. A reflector will catch the light of the sun and redirect it towards your model. It operates like a mirror, except toned down to help give an overall light instead of a focused point. When shooting in the shade you still want to use darker colored clothing, but can get away with some lighter tones.
Using natural light doesn’t mean you have to shoot outdoors. If you have a room with a lot of windows or one big window you can get the same effect. If you’re using a room with lots of windows, set your model in the center with their back facing the wall that has the least amount of windows. This helps avoid creating an unwanted backlight that will shadow the fashion. If you’re using a room with one large window, place the model next to the window with their side facing it.
This is the same setup as using the sun outside, to help avoid washing out and shadows on the clothing and face. When shooting through windows it’s always best to use soft drapes to help soften the light.
Creating Natural Light
Sometimes the weather doesn’t play nice with photography. If you find yourself needing to shoot with natural light, but it’s stormy outside, then you can create the effect of natural lighting indoors. Using a spotlight, set up mirrors around the perimeter of the room. By reflecting the spotlight off of the mirrors you fill the room with a softened light that reflects flooding the room with sunlight. This is a great trick to get the effect you want with an uncooperative mother nature.
Sometimes things don’t always go as planned. If you find that shooting in natural light doesn’t work out for you, you can use Lightroom to add the effect. The Sleeklens bundle Chasing Light is an excellent resource for editing photos. The bundle can help fix simple errors, like having too much light directly in the model’s face. You can also fix bigger problems, such as bringing back the color in a washed out dress.
Natural light is a great way to get a unique mood in your fashion photography and make your photography stand out to an employer. It can be difficult to get a great photo taken with natural light. However, if your photo doesn’t come out looking the way you want, you can easily fix it with the Sleeklens Chasing Light Lightroom bundle. With enough practice, and the right timing, you can create wonderful fashion photographs from natural light settings.