A few ways of controlling natural light in photography.
It seems we’re always waiting for that perfect moment. What defines moment though, what element are we waiting on with our finger paused over the shutter release and our breath held? For myself it always seems to be the lighting, sometimes returning to a shot location several times for that moment. Natural light is that one aspect that no amount of post processing can reproduce perfectly in my personal opinion. We’ve so little true control over it but here though is a few ways of controlling natural light in photography. So, what can be done? Not too much but your timing and viewpoint can make a big difference.
Timing is perhaps the most important factor in controlling natural light in photography. Every photographer knows the advantage of taking shots during “The Golden Hour”, that hour of sunrise and sunset. This is when the natural light gives the best warm tone providing excellent definition to shapes and contours. Of course this can be as simple as or complex as your planned shot and location, requiring just a simple wristwatch to needing a smartphone with applications to plan your arrival and location days or months in advance.
A second way of controlling the natural light on a subject in photography is viewpoint. The appearance of a shot can be completely altered by changing the viewpoint and placing the location and angle of the light source before or behind the subject. An advantage of shooting into the light or backlighting (contre jour) then having the option of altering the photographs exposure in two separate manners. Reducing the exposure on a camera, exposing the background gives a radiance to the colors in the background the subject darkens to contour and shape. The opposite happens when you increase the exposure on a camera, exposing the subject and over exposing the background creates a soft blur and slightly out of focus appearance.
Using the best timing practices and viewpoint awareness can make controlling the natural light on a subject in photography much easier. By taking these few factors into consideration you are certain to not only improve the photographs you take but broaden the options you have when choosing how you want to shoot.
If you found this article helpful or have any other suggestions of controlling the natural light in photography I would love to hear them, learning is life long and who doesn’t want to take great photographs. Even better though, if you enjoyed it enough to not want to miss out on new articles please subscribe at the bottom of the homepage.