Lifestyle | How to Shoot Natural Light Fashion Photographs

Image Credit : Kris Atomic

Whether you are taking a selfie, photographing a friend wearing their new outfit, or shooting for a professional fashion site like Fashot, there is one thing your photograph cannot do without. And that is proper lighting. Lighting is the key to getting the lines, contours and colours of any photograph just right. When you are snapping a photo, you’ll be using two sources of light—natural or artificial—which yields different results. Though natural light is abundantly available (and for free, too), using it in fashion photographs can be tricky. So read ahead for a useful list of tips for shooting fashion photographs with natural light:

First, Decide How You Want the Photograph to Look

Are you going for a modern, chic look or an elegant, retro look? These two concepts require different “intensities” of light. For example, if you want a fashion photograph of teenagers in jeans, you might want to use bright sunlight that brings out sharp colours like red and yellow. On the other hand, if you are shooting a fashion selfie of yourself in a vintage dress, you’d want dimmed light, like moonlight. As you can see, light creates mood for a photograph. Therefore, it’s very important to decide exactly what you want to convey through your photographs first.

Choose a Good Location

Unfortunately, unlike artificial light, it’s almost impossible to manipulate natural light. Instead, you’ll have to pick a good location where the amount of light you need is readily available. If you need ample light for your shot, go outdoors. Find an area shaded by trees for less intensity. Remember, natural light creates high contrast colours. That means, bright clothes will look brighter under the harsh sunlight. White clothes, especially, will stand out. Sparkling jewellery tends to reflect the sunlight. Unless you are particularly looking for this effect, avoid metal jewellery on outdoor daytime shots.

By the Window, Or Not By the Window

Window shots are famous for artsy and moody portrait shots. They are also great for fashion photographers who want to take above-the-waist shots of models in casualwear. You can use the angle of the light coming through the window to create highly dramatized photographs. The intensity of the light is easy to manipulate with windows. Just draw the curtains if the sunlight is too bright.

Use Reflectors If You Must

You can change the direction of sunlight with low-cost reflectors. This is a useful, and sometimes necessary, tool for outdoor shots. With a reflector, you can concentrate light to highlight a certain angle, or an aspect, of your photograph to evoke different emotions.

Never, Ever Use the Flash with Natural Light

Fashion selfies are most prone to this mistake. If you are outdoors, and the light source is right in front of you, using your camera’s flash will create forehead flares and monster red eyes. So, selfie takers, adjust your smartphone camera settings to not flash when you are outside on a sunny day. The natural light by itself can highlight your features without any help.
In general, each fashion photographer has his or her own preferences with regards to natural light, depending on taste and availability. Still, like Vogue photographer Alexander Neumann once said, natural lighting is the best lighting. Learn to make the best out of it to take absolutely flattering fashion photographs.

Have you got any photography tips to share?

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