3 Natural Lighting Secrets All Great Portrait Photogs Know

natural lighting

Have you ever wondered how to get those gorgeous natural light photos? You know the ones—images where the light perfectly highlights the subject, portraits you just can’t stop looking at!

How do great portrait photographers get that perfect natural lighting?

Do they just intuitively know exactly what to do? Or are they just lucky, finding themselves in the right light every time they pick up their camera?

The truth is that every single photographer can capture images with beautiful natural light every single time, no matter the circumstances.

It’s just a matter of knowing exactly what the right tools are and how to use them.

If you’re a natural light photographer and you want to get that perfect lighting every time, then you’re in the right place! These three natural lighting secrets can help you achieve more consistent results with your images.

  • Tip #1: Always Choose Your Lighting First

    Whenever you show up for a photo shoot, it’s inevitable that your client will want you to take photos at their favorite scenic location. New photographers often make the mistake of agreeing to the client’s chosen outdoor backdrop even if the lighting is less than ideal.

    But here’s what all great portrait photographers know:

    Even photos with a mediocre background can turn out amazing with great lighting, but photos with mediocre lighting won’t turn out well, even if the background is beautiful.

    So always be sure to choose your lighting first and your background second.

  • Tip #2: Your Long Lens Is Your Outdoor BFF

    If you want great lighting in any situation, including the harshest midday sun with no shade in sight, you have to have a long lens with a lens shade.

    This lens will allow you to blur out the background during a time of day that may be overly bright and can help you isolate your subject in even the most challenging lighting conditions.

    If you’re just starting out and are concerned about the cost, don’t worry! There are generic versions that will work just fine.

  • Tip #3: Don’t Be Afraid to Supplement with Artificial Light

    Using artificial light when the natural light just isn’t quite cutting it doesn’t make you any less of a natural light photographer! It took me many years to realize that, if you’re photographing indoors with natural light or if you have a natural light studio, you will likely need to supplement with artificial daylight lights on occasion.

    We talk about this more in our lighting course for photographers, but it’s very common for great photographers to bring in additional light on dark or cloudy days to create consistency in their natural light images.

    You can get consistent results with natural light just by keeping these three tips in mind! Lighting is such an essential component of all photography, and the more consideration you give your lighting, the better your images will be.

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