Natural Light Basics

Lesson 9/9 - 5 Essential Skills for Natural Light


Natural Light Basics


Lesson Info

5 Essential Skills for Natural Light

I talked about a lot of things, but if you want to get paid, I want you to focus on these things. These are the five bread and butter skills that get you paid. These are the things that you've got to master, okay? One, you gotta be a master at finding catchlights. Anywhere, anytime, it's like, how can I get a catchlight where I am? Two, using the open shade, which I talked about before. Recognizing the highlight and shadow. Highlight and shadow, when you find that, it's easy to pose your subjects, because wherever that highlight is, you make the nose that way and then you pose it, and that's gonna be a guaranteed beautiful shot! All you gotta look for, pattern of highlight and shadow, you put your subject there, I guarantee it's an amazing shot. Creating rim light, get that glow, you want that dimension in there. And overcoming harsh light, learn how to overcome it. I mean, using reflections, I know that's gonna get you a lot of likes and all that kind of stuff, right. I just posted on...

e on my Instagram, that one with the couple with the puddle. 400 freakin' likes on that, right? But, can I do a whole session with just reflections? No. It's great for a little spice here and there, but I can't live off of that. I guarantee you, you can make a lot of money just concentrating on these things. And then the spice things with the LED lights and the reflections and the little tricks here and there. That's fine, that's sizzle, but these are the things that get you paid. So, we got a reflector here. Let's analyze this. Do we have a strong light source? Can we get a strong light source? Perhaps that can be. Let's try it, let's bring it over here and let's see how strong this window is. Do we agree that this is our strongest light source? So, if we put her back towards that window. Right, over here, this way, go as close as possible to that light source and let's see. I'm not sure. Oh, well back side won't work. (students laugh) I'll get a little bit, but it's not strong enough. Can we turn this light on, to create a little bit stronger source? And Sarah, won't you come up this way. Let's turn this light on, and let's maybe point it at her, and then I can shoot into this background, that would be great. So, won't you come over here, and let's see if we can get that light shining right back this way. Is it possible to turn that, so it's coming this way? Here. 'Cause then we could use this reflective side. You can start to see it already, right? Who's the eager beaver here and wants to hold, yes! I love it. Okay, so we'll take a picture without it, and then we'll add it. And show the magic, how's that? (Man) Perfect, love it. And your name is? Sarah. Sarah, oh that's easy to remember. (students laugh) That's great. So what I'm gonna do here is... No, let's don't show them yet. (students laugh) Save that. Okay, so I'm gonna pose you with your nose this way, because the light's gonna be coming that way, right? So can you turn your body the other way a little bit and just turn your head that way? And pop out that back hip. Bam, yeah, good. Look this way, and then just pull this arm back just a little bit, like you're pulling your dress back. Perfect, and then just look with your eyes back at me, good. And then just open that arm. I'm so sorry, I'm like, so into posing, but I should just be doing the lighting, okay! Okay, so here we go. I'm lighting it up, and this is the beautiful picture that you're gonna get. I'm gonna create the kind of glow that I want. This is the beautiful picture that I'm gonna get without any reflector. Terrible. Right? Okay, so now let's bring in some of this light, and if we can do it higher, I'd like to do it like higher and down, ooh yeah. Right, you had it, you can't see, can you see the light? You can bring it a little bit lower. Can you get that reflection right in? Let's just put down low so you can see it. Good, you see that light? Oh, right there, and I love this. When you get light coming this way, and you get light coming this way, what happens is you get a strip shadow right on the cheek, and it looks really nice. So turn your head this way a bit. Pop your hips out a little bit more for me, yeah there you go, you just gotta sell. Turn your nose towards that light and bring that reflector in closer. Closer, closer, closer. Okay, right there, good. Okay, and so let me just open this up a bit. One, two, three. (camera clicks) Now look at the magic on the next shot. And so, this is just an easy way I am setting. Okay, let's do another one where I'm overexposing and making it glow even more. So, if I can get this light strong enough, what I can do is I could change the exposure, so let's do both. So I can crank down on my exposure, and I can actually make it a little bit more dramatic by just doing a little bit of highlight, but I'm gonna need that reflector really close to her. Yeah, there you go. Her moving that reflector, believe it or not, by half the distance, that gave me four times the amount of light. Even if it's just a foot or so, I am giving my subject four times the amount of light. Okay, turn your nose towards the light, good. And look back at me. Right, okay? And so, let's do this, keep your body the other way, and pull your hair off. Right, good. Pop that hip out that way. And then turn your body and your face more this way. Right there, little bit more. And look back at me with your eyes, right there, good. Alright, so now what I'm doing is, I'm underexposing a bit, to make this more dramatic. Turn your head a little bit, look towards that light source. Can you bring that light source in more, even more? Okay, right there. One, two, ready? (camera clicks) And look at how dramatic I can make it. It looks a little bit dark here, but in the camera it looks amazing. (laughs) Depending on how much highlight you want, you can do it. It's not like you just have one shot. You can control that. Okay, so now I'm gonna do the same thing, where I'm gonna pull that light away, and now I'm gonna do the same exact pose. Because I'm making this light less strong, I can create more glow on her hair, right? So, can we pull it back even more? More, tell me when. Let's try that. And so now I am creating more of a glow feel by just changing the situation, and if they can see the situation. I've got two different looks, depending on what you want. You might be a light and airy person, or you might want the drama. For me, I'm probably gonna be the drama guy. Let's try another one, we're doing side lights. So let's step back a bit. Turn your head sideways, that way, and let's put this light right here real close, and I'm gonna shoot something a little bit different. So turn your body towards me, and I just want you to turn your head that way. Let's try to get that light right to the side of her. Bring it in, right there. Turn your head sideways, this way. And then get that light. Okay, now watch this, this is kinda more my style. Shooting. (camera clicks) I love this look. It's a little bit dark there, let me make the adjustment, because it's not transferring what I see, but I'll open it up just a bit. To see that drama. (camera clicks) This is the type of shot that I like, where I'm closing it down, and using that light, and that rim light. Great I think we're all set. That's it? Yeah. Let's give a round of applause for Rob. (students applaud) So you can go ahead and sit down. Scott, let's just get your final thoughts on go forth and conquer with natural light basics. Yeah, one thing is you gotta try to get catchlights on everything, or else if you don't have a catchlight, the subject's face is just not gonna pop off. I think had a friend say, heard, or something he said, and I really liked it, he commented on my Instagram. He says like, "Catchlights are the lights of your soul." And really that's what it is. Those catchlights just bring a person's soul out into the picture. So, if anything just remember on what creates them and how to find them. Open shade is a great way to do it in the outdoors, and not very many people utilize that technique, or understand it fully to get those catchlights anytime, anywhere.

Class Description

Join award-winning photography Scott Robert Lim as he breaks down lighting basics and how to find great light and solve problems when in difficult lighting situations. He'll cover how to work through extremely bright light by using your environment and the available resources only. He'll also discuss how to use reflectors and diffusers to control the light and how to keep your set up really light with minimal gear and still get amazing images.


Phillip Tour

Great course!!! I learn a lot about natural light, im very good with natural light but I can't wait to get out of my studio and start shot again with natural light! Thank You Scott!!!

a Creativelive Student

Excellent Lesson from Scott. Easy to understand. One of the best CL Lessons I have ever watched. Good job

Luna Esterhuizen

One of the best classes of so far. I liked the way he demonstrated what he was talking about. Lots of fun and I learned a lot.