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Controlling Natural Light

June 16, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Controlling Natural Light

During the filming of our "Natural Light" tutorial we took a series of images where we balanced the sun with different light sources to show what effect they have on the final images.  The filming took place at Thunderpark Airsoft in Luxulyan, Bodmin.  A big thanks to our friend Barbara for letting us use the location.

If you haven’t seen our “Natural Light” tutorial here is a link to the video.  Photography using Natural Light

As described in our film, it was a very sunny day and so we took our model Becky into a shed which is part of the adventure park.  There was not only a door in the front, but a window as well, a high window on one side behind Becky and another opening opposite the main entrance.  

We positioned Becky in a patch of shade, but near enough to the door to illuminate her face by the natural light coming through the door (see image 1).  The exposure meter gave us a reading outside of F16 in the sun.  The light on our model’s face was F4.  The backlight on her hair comes from the high window behind her and the window next to the door, both just out of the frame.

Image 1: Natural Light only

To put a bit more light into Becky’s face we used a white Lastolite reflector.  To reflect light back we needed to position the reflector outside the shed to catch the sun.  We still maintained the backlight on her hair, but pushed also some light back on the wall.  The reflector also brought some catch-lights into her eyes.

Image 2: White Reflector

For our third image we used the Rotolight AEOS, a big continuous light source.  Adrian is standing with the light in the shed just behind the door.  We put the light onto its maximum continuous output.  That means the Kelvin was set to 4100 and 100%.  The different colour temperature is produced through a mixture of different temperature LED’s.  By 4100°K all the lights are used and you have the maximum light output in continuous mode.  You would be able to gain another stop out of the light by setting it to "flash" mode.  This is useful when you want that extra bit of kick in situations where there is already plenty of light.  We have the sparkle in Becky’s eyes and still get the benefit of the backlight from the window behind her.

Image 3: Rotolight AEOS as continuous light source

Because of the differences in light between the outside and inside of the shed, I didn’t take too much of the environment into my composition to avoid too many overexposed parts in the finial images with would distract from the subject.  In post production Becky’s face was lightened further and the outside of the shed was darkened down.

In our last image we used a simple speed light and put a snoot on it.  Because we were now able to take the exposure down, we could show more of the environment without the risk of blowing parts of the image out.  The exposure on our model's face is now exactly the same as outside.  Because light from behind a subject always appears brighter in the finial image, we still have our backlight.  Adrian is now standing outside the shed again with the speed light on a pole (lighting stand) to hold it into position.  The only part in the image I darkened down in post production was the blue oil drum in the foreground.

Image 4: Speed light with snoot

 


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