Natural light is what the sun gives us everyday, unless you live in a cave or that random part of Alaska where it's in darkness for half the year. Most bloggers have photos that are shot outside and are primarily lit by nature’s light source, the sun. It’s the first type of lighting that people learn to control when taking their own photographs. The light and airy feel that comes across in your Instagram feeds of carefree bloggers is probably achieved with natural light and someone that knows their way around a camera and a good shooting day. If you’re struggling to figure out how to get the best natural light photos here are a few tips for getting that natural light look in camera.
Shoot during golden hours.
The “golden hours” are the times of day when the light is the softest and warmest for optimal photo taking conditions. They are the hour after the sun first rises during the day and hour before the sun sets at night. Photographers love this time because it gives off the most even lighting. No pesky deep shadows to get rid of when the light is even all around. This is why people that are familiar with photography or having their photo taken stay away from shooting during the middle of the day. Around lunchtime or the middle of the day is the worst time to shoot because the sun is at its brightest, making your shadows harsh and dark unless you are going for a bright, shadowy look. The warm cast that the sun gives off also can give skin a natural glow.
Cloudy days are your best friend.
Similar to the “golden hours” cloudy days are also great days for photographing because of the even lighting. Clouds are nature’s softbox or diffuser and help to ward off the harsh rays from the sun to give off a soft and natural light. Sometimes a too overcast day can dampen the mood on a photo so don’t be afraid to bring a friend to hold a reflector off camera to bounce in a little light or add in some flash from your camera or phone.
Pay attention to your light meter
If you’re using a DSLR or even some of the newer smartphones take a look at the light meter. It’s meter that shows if your photo is underexposed, meaning that it will look darker than it should or overexposed, meaning that it will look lighter than it should. It’s always better to try to keep the camera’s exposure towards the middle of the light meter. This will show the most accurate lighting for the situation. Many pro photographers will tell you that your camera’s light meter isn’t as trustworthy as an external handheld light meter but it should do just fine for your outfit photos.
In the words of legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz, “Wherever there is light, one can photograph,” so make use of the light you have and get shooting.