I love my studio so much. All the years I’ve shot in a studio it’s been wonderful to have the consistency of the space. From the actual props we used to the lighting, it’s always consistent. Shooting outdoors is a whole different story. As much as you can bring reflectors and can plan for the best time of day to shoot, you will inevitably not be able to always control your lighting.
So how do I choose the light I am going to shoot in when shooting outdoors?
When you’re on location you’re just working with what you have available to you. Trust me when I tell you, nature doesn’t always give you what you need to create the images you envision in your mind. It’s up to you to be creative and to understand where to best place your subject for the different light available to you.
A couple notes on outdoor lighting…
Sometimes all you have to work with is harsh light. When I have harsh light to work with I find it’s important to place my subjects just right to avoid squinting or harsh shadows. You either avoid the harsh light (finding some shade) or you should fully embrace it. Don’t half ass it or ‘try to make it work’… If you’re going for harsh light, go all out.
The best light is an overcast sky. An overcast sky, filled with wither fluffy clouds covering the sun or the dramatic clouds signaling a rain storm, make everything soft and even. This style of lighting is really perfect for editing with presets. It really is the easiest and safest way to shoot knowing you don’t have to worry about squinty eyes, shadows or where the light is hitting your subject.
The most important part of all is to learn how to work with all of these different kinds of light situations so you can be prepared no matter what the day brings your way. Being prepared is the best way to bring a vision to life, even if it’s not what you originally anticipated. Becoming skilled with your camera and understanding the benefits and tricks to working with each lighting situation is going to make you a stronger photographer for your clients.