It's that time of year! When the sun goes down earlier and the darkness is among us. If you're like me and love natural light, you might feel a little defeated. But there are many ways you can work with the light of the season and still bring magic to your images.
To mimic natural light this time of year, I almost always use ambient lights AND studio lights. When I'm doing this, the lights are acting as a support to the natural light available. They do an amazing job at filling in shadows and popping a bit of light into the scene. Another little trick I use is bouncing the lights off the white ceiling or into V-Flats. This fills in light around the room in a natural, soft way. I have found the quality and consistency of profoto lights is the only way to go.
Here are four simple tips to help you work with seasonal light.
1. Up your Iso! This time of year I up my ISO from 100-250 to anywhere between 320-640. Anything above 640 brings on the noise and doesn't match the quality I want to deliver to my clients. A higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera's sensor allowing it to read lower light better.
2. Take note of how the light has changed! The direction of light changes this time of year in the Minneapolis, MN area. The days are shorter and sometimes it can be pretty dark outside by 3:30pm. This is an important thing to keep in mind when scheduling clients. This time of year, I don't even shoot after 3pm unless it's a completely studio lit session. A good way to know where and when the best light can be found is by training your eyes to see light. Consciously watch the light around you and take note of what you like, what you don't like, and when the light is just right. You might love grey over cast days when the light is flat and soft, or you may really love those rare winter sunsets when there are lots of shadows to play with. A great app for knowing exactly where the light will hit is The Photographer's Ephemeris.
3. Use Modifiers! Light is everywhere, but to be able to control light is everything in photography. As a professional photographer, I have to feel confirdent in my ability to deliver amazing photos under any light condition. To do this, you have to understand how to control light. The awesome news is that there are thousands of ways to produce the light you desire and a whole tool box of options available to you. Examples being studio lights, off camera flashes, V-cards, reflectors, bounce cards, soft boxes, beauty dishes...the list goes on! Here is a great beginners guide article about light modifiers: https://digital-photography-school.com/a-beginners-guide-to-light-modifiers/.
My go to modifiers are my
-Five foot octagonal SEAMLESS soft box (The ultimate diffusion)
-V-card Flat (extra reflection)
4. If at first you don't succeed, try again! The best things in life sometimes don't come easy. But I promise with practice, a watchful eye, and patience with yourself you will achieve all your beautiful light goals.