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Beginner’s Guide to Natural Light Photography

Beginner’s Guide to Natural Light Photography

The very first lesson you need to learn as a beginner photographer is that light is the key to photography. The most critical form of light to understand is natural light. Natural light is any light created by sunlight. The better you understand how to use natural light in your photography, the better you will be able to maximize its potential. Here is everything you need to know to utilize natural light in your photography.

Rise and Shine
When looking for the best time of day to take advantage of natural light, you’ll want to shoot in the mornings and evenings. You’ll find the softest light during sunrise and sunset. The softer natural light found during an evening shoot will also flatter your subject’s features. 

Shooting just before sunset and sunrise will add interesting color with the diffused lighting that is created. You may have to use the flash on your camera to add a touch of artificial lighting when shooting during the twilight hours.


High Noon
While shooting during sunrise and sunset is easier, you can shoot effectively during the midday hours as well. Shooting at midday will allow you to play with the harsh shadows created by the sun overhead. The contrast created by contrasting shadows can make your photos more interesting. If you are struggling with shooting in the middle of the day, use a polarizing filter to bring out the colors and soften hard light.

Lighting Angle
Once you’ve decided the best time of day to shoot using natural light, you need to decide the best angle of the light to use. If you shoot with the sun directly behind you, the sun will shine right on your subject. When shooting back-lit subjects, the Sigma Lens from will give you the enhanced clarity you’re looking for. If you are trying to highlight any curves or contours, try to use side lighting.


Natural Lighting Indoors
You aren’t limited to using natural lighting only outdoors. Natural lighting that comes through a window can be used for anything from portraits to food photography. The closer your subject is to the window, the more the natural light will reach. Natural light from a window is the best way to brighten your subject indoors.


Rain or Shine
You don’t have to have blue skies to take advantage of natural lighting. You can still create amazing images whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Overcast lighting can be a much easier type of natural lighting to work with than the harsh sunlight of a cloud-free day. Days mixed with bright sunshine and clouds are perfect for taking landscape photography. The shadows cast by the clouds can create unique images. The ways to play with natural lighting are endless. Different times of day, lighting angles, lenses, and even the weather will create different results.
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