You’ve seen the beautiful professional photographs where the lighting
seems so natural. They don’t get it from using a straight-on flash like so
many home photographers do. Instead, they know how to chase the
Professional photographer Russ Dixon shares his tips for capturing the best
“Chasing The Light”
5 Outdoor Lighting Tips for getting great light
1) “The Golden Hours” — The best outdoor light is typically
found between the hours of 6-10am and then 5-8pm. These hours are
called the “Golden Hours” and you will often see photographers out
shooting early in the morning or evening. Because the light is lower in the
sky, it gives that dreamy “golden” light to your subject. If you are caught
shooting outside during the high sun hours (noon-5pm), you may want to
look for open shade (large areas of shade) or use a flash to help
compensate for the bright light.
2) “Rim or ‘Hair’ Lighting” — To add a quick professional look to
your photos, use the sun, a reflector or an off-camera flash unit to create a
small amount of light on your subject’s hair. This always looks nice and
can really make the difference between an okay photo and an amazing one!
3) Find a good reflector — You can purchase a reflector online
or at your local camera store for between $20-$150 depending on size and
features. A good reflector will help you achieve beautiful lighting looks
without having to haul big studio lights with you everywhere you go! If
budget is tight, you can experiment with a white piece of poster board or
even a white sheet or t-shirt to get started. To use the reflector most
effectively, it will be easiest if you have an assistant helping you.
4) What if I don’t have expensive camera or lighting equipment? –
– Have no fear! You can still get incredible light from whatever camera you
own. Don’t let the cost of your equipment fool you. Some of the most
amazing photographs that have ever been taken have been from a small,
inexpensive camera. Even the newer camera phones (iPhone, Droid,
Blackberry etc) can capture some amazing images.
5) “Chase The Light” — Look for soft light during the golden
hours and shoot “toward” the sun! If you are looking for that big dreamy
look, try shooting in the direction of the sun (having your subject’s back to
the sun) and see what you get. If your image is turning out too dark, try
opening up your exposure manually to compensate for the fact that your
camera will want to “squint” in bright light! This is a quick way to get
amazing results. Have fun and go chase the light!
Russ’ work can be seen at www.russdixonphotograph