Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Natural Light Adventures Series - Introduction

Spring 2015 I had a plan to shoot a lot more personal project shoots outdoors. Taking advantage of the warm weather that was coming in. Well I did get to do this, but as well with the lack of funds and on a very tight budget for shoots I had limitations on what I could do. Such as having assistants holding lights or natural light modifiers were pretty much out of the question due to whatever reasons, but primarily funding. So I had no choice but focus on shooting purely natural light shots in since starting this goal while shooting on-location shooting environmental portraiture. 

I've been shooting in this style more and more, and fell in love with the natural light shots I've been producing. It felt the style that was for me, even though do I wish I could use more lighting and even "perfect" my lighting yes, but this requires more people on set to assist by holding modifiers and/or lighting equipment. I know some will say use light stands, which I can, heavy duty stands at least, the low end budget light stands, no... lol. I tried this but even with weights, the stand still has a hard time keeping still (top end). Plus if you do not have any insurance on the equipment its risky both from stolen or breaking outdoors. 

So with limited budget, no friends/family willing to help (all the time) I decided to just do it on my own with a model. Over, over, over, and over! This in my opinion is the most I've learned in photography in my 5 years of shooting photography doing this unintentional exercise in natural light environmental portraits. The skills I've learned was basically finding pockets of light aligning with appealing composition, if not then learning to find a way to bokeh most of the background to make the shot more appealing to view with the very soft light.

Note that I did not intentionally seek to become better at natural light shooting, it just became it, but I do admit it looking back at my natural light work in portraiture it was no where near where I am today. So without seeking this I did not research or seeked out knowledge, but in my mind I did absorbed information from the past about it. Such as shooting at the "Golden Hour" or aka "Magic Hour" to some. These times can vary from early morning on sun rise or late evening sun set. The exact times varies season of the year, and location you're at on the planet. For me times during the summer (day light savings) was for the evening (as I prefer later time) was for start at 6pm to about 8pm EST, and for fall 245pm to about 445-5pm. 

That's my story and I'm sure this adventure will not be the end of my natural light journey I took unintentionally and decided to keep riding it.

Now with the introduction of this series and story behind us and out of the way I'd like to introduce what I'd like to bring to others of what I've learned from it, both in video and written form (blog). 

In Summary what I'd cover

Sector: Natural Light Portrait Shooting on a Budget. No modifiers, lighting equipment, or assistants. Just you, your camera/lenses and your subject(s).

Best timing to shoot.
- Foundation skills of finding and seeing light, in combination of appealing composition.
- Building skills from beginner natural light shooting with soft diffused light to advanced natural light shooting with harsh but making it work for your needs/concepts, etc.
- Gear Talk, i.e. recommended lenses and camera bodies (in a broader sense).

Next year I hope to have the next sector completed by having more assistants available to be able to perform with on-location natural light modifiers. 

Obviously video will require myself having at least one assistant on every video I decide to do so this may not happen for a while, at least the ones that I am showing an actual shoot of doing natural light shooting portrait shoot. Other videos I may do is de-construction of past shoots explaining what I did and how I achieved it, with before/after images. As for the videos where I require an assistant is as I mentioned a shoot itself (production), and location scouting (pre-production). I'll discuss my post process with voice over type videos as well.

If you do want to see, hear and read more of this series I do appreciate some encouragement. I know there are many hits on this blog but not so many comments, please make a positive comment to show appreciation and encouragement. 

Check out the Natural Light Adventures gallery on my website. 

As well check out the index post for this blog series.

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