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How to Create Studio-Quality Portraits with Indirect Sunlight

8/06/2023 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

In the tutorial, photographer Nathan Elson explains that indirect sunlight is a great way to get professional-looking results without having to invest in expensive lighting equipment. He also shares some tips for finding a good location, setting up your subject, using reflectors, and editing your photos.

 Here are some of the key takeaways from Nelson's tutorial:
  • Find a location with indirect sunlight. This means finding a spot where the sun is not directly overhead, but is instead filtered through trees or other objects. A north-facing wall or alley is a good option, as the sun will be at a low angle and will create soft, even light.
  •  Set up your subject in front of the indirect sunlight. If you're using a backdrop, you can set it up behind your subject to create a clean background.
  • Use reflectors to add contrast. The light from indirect sunlight is very soft, so you may want to use reflectors to add some contrast to your portraits. You can use white reflectors to bounce light back onto your subject's face, or black reflectors to create shadows.
  •  Experiment with different angles. Experiment with different angles to find the lighting that flatters your subject's face the most. You can try shooting from above, below, or at eye level. You can also try moving your subject around to see how the light changes.


BEHIND THE SCENES Photoshoot with Tneesha - Natural Light Setup

As you can see, these portraits look like they were taken in a studio, even though they were actually taken outdoors. This is a great way to get professional-looking results without having to invest in expensive lighting equipment. 

You may also like: Using ONE LIGHT for Amazing Results

About Nathan Elson:

I'm a commercial photographer based out of Calgary, AB. My YouTube channel will be a place for my behind the scenes, Q&A, and whatever else happens to make it into video form that seems like people might be interested in viewing. Let's Get Connected: | LIGHTROOM & CAPTURE ONE PRESET PACKS: | STUDIO LIGHTING WORKSHOP 

Image and video via Nathan Elson