When I found my new studio, I fell in love. It has huge factory windows on the second floor that give me privacy. I have north-, south- and west-facing windows. As we all know, being a professional means delivering a consistent product. When I moved into my studio, I found myself using only natural light because it is so beautiful. I know what time of day and quality of light I need for any photo my clients might pick out as a favorite. But what happens when you have a dark, dreary day, and your client wants that hard-light look?
There are many parallels between natural and studio lighting and photography. Most people who teach studio photography and lighting don’t teach it from a natural-light perspective. When I tried to learn it all those years ago, it became even more confusing than when I started. The old saying “Light is light is light” applies here. In this article, I break down studio lighting in a way that’s easy to understand, from the perspective of a natural-light shooter who painstakingly learned how to light in a studio.
In this issue, you’re reading exceptional advice on shaping light with strobes, softboxes and speedlights. But what if you’re limited to available, natural light? There are unique challenges. What you gain in reduced gear, setup and purchases, you lose in flexibility. Yet there’s a distinctive beauty in using only the sun. With care, it can produce timeless imagery.