shoot in natural light

Which pro photographers mainly shoot in natural light?

In the world of professional flash, strobes, speed lights, and LED, natural light is the best choice for many professional photographers. For some photography styles (landscapes, wildlife) is very difficult to use other artificial light sources except for flash. But some photographers prefer to shoot in natural light even for photography styles that are usually based on artificial lighting (portraiture, commercial, fashion). Why is natural light so appealing to them and how can they create stunning digital photography in an uncontrolled environment?

Landscape photography – Thomas Heaton

For landscape, travel, and outdoor photographer Thomas Heaton natural light is the best companion he can ask for. He’s shooting both film and digital and is happy when he’s exploring new locations and taking pictures in the sunlight.

Thomas Heaton is a storyteller. For him, the location and its stories are more important than anything. He loves to shoot during the golden hour and twilight and uses the soft, warm light in creative ways. His landscapes are natural, inviting, and beautiful. He’s out there shooting in all seasons and in all types of weather. From cold light of winter mornings to harsh light of midday in the desert, his photographs are indeed painting with natural light.

“I love being outside and I love the never-ending challenge of trying to portray ‘that feeling’, you know, the warm evenings at twilight, the sense of isolation when you have a mountain to yourself, the sound of waves lapping the shore of an empty beach.” – Thomas Heaton.

Portrait photography – Sean Archer

Sean Archer is a self-taught portrait photographer who uses exclusively natural light. It’s easy to see that natural light is all he needs to create amazing portraits and capture the natural beauty of his models. The most important ingredient of his pictures is an inspiration as he leaves everything to the moment.

Sean Archer is a Skylum ambassador and a sensation on Instagram and 500px even if he says he’s still a beginner learning from his mistakes. His portraits make fantastic use of natural light and feature a wide dynamic range. Like magic, light always falls on his models best features and brighten their faces. Soft and powerful at the same time, natural light is Sean Archer’s best ingredient.

Street photography – Jeff Karp

Jeff Karp is a street photographer who uses natural light in a powerful and remarkable way. His images are literally playing with light and shadow. The higher the contrast, the bigger the impact seems to be Jeff Karp’s motto. The focus is on architecture and people, transforming the streets is an art gallery. Color comes naturally into the scenery, in simple and artful composition, adding the warmth of the sunset or the brightness of the midday sun.

Jeff Karp shoots with a Fuji X100F and with an iPhone X, proving that imagination and personal style are more important than the gear.

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Patch of light: my 6-step process . Step No. 1: Notice good quality light. I saw potential in this usually mundane street scene as the light created a focal point surrounded by dark negative space. . Step No. 2: Compose the frame to minimize distractions. In this image, I noticed the light from across the street. I quickly moved closer to the scene and focused my attention on the background. In image No 3, you can see the straight out of camera image. My vantage point for the image was selected based on the findings in the background and the obstacles present in the foreground. A few feet left-more distractions in the background; Step right-construction posts enter the patch of light; Step back-no benefit; Move closer-unsafe footing with the construction items in the way. . Step No. 3: Crop with intent. I try whenever possible to compose my frame so that cropping is not needed. Sometimes my vantage point does not allow a fully composed frame free of distractions. Before making this image, I recognized that a meaningful crop (Image No. 2) would help me to control the frame. . Step No. 4: Optimize contrast by controlling highlights and shadows. Image No. 2 was slightly overexposed. I reduced both the highlights and shadows in post processing to allow the details within the scene to become more noticeable. I always spend time to get the highlights right. . Step No. 5: Be aware of white balance. My images shot mostly in midday sun are usually too yellow. I always look at white balance after deepening the shadows. For me, I tend to slightly move the color temperature away from yellow towards blue when adjusting color vibrancy and saturation in my images. . Step 6: Take some time away from the image before posting. With fresh eyes later, I make sure I am still happy with the color hues, saturation, and white balance. I often reduce saturation on second look. . . . . . ?: Fujifilm X100F ©️2018

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Underwater photography – Alex Lindbloom

Alex Lindbloom, an awarded and appreciated underwater photographer, proposes a quite unusual approach for this photography style. Using natural light underwater is a courageous way of increasing underwater photographic possibilities. It permits photographing subjects that are scared by artificial light or are too big to be illuminated artificially.

Alex Lindbloom not only uses natural light to capture amazing images, but he also teaches others how to do it.

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Cover photo by Sebastiano Piazzi on Unsplash

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