Many photographers appreciate natural lighting and often recommend it. I agree that it is a beautiful light but if you want all the photos in a series to look the same during a one-day long photo shoot – natural lighting will cause problems because the source of light is moving and disappearing.
Look for example at these two photos shot one minute after the other – the shadow in the left arm is soft and the other arm is hard.
I prefer the same soft shadows in all photos if it is a series.
I mostly shoot with artificial light that looks like natural light. We will talk more about artificial light in another post.
With natural lighting there is more to think of: the exposure times will get longer and as a result you might have color casts from objects or even from your own clothes, you might be forced to use a short depth of field (even when not wanted) and you might have to use a tripod and shoot with a higher ISO like 400, 800, 1600 – which means image noise and reduced image quality.
I am always shooting my food shots in ISO 100 If I am not shooting in a documentary style.
So lets talk about using natural lighting. If it is very sunny outside the light will be too bright and too hard for your food shots.
The image could then get over exposed and the shadows will be too hard. To solve that problem you have to soften the hard light with a diffuser or shoot in the shadow. I prefer the shadow where the light is soft and smooth.
This photo is shot in the shadow. If I want a little glimpse of the sun somewhere I often lead it into the photo with a reflector or as in this case let the light in through the trees by moving a branch.
To show you the difference between flash and natural light – this photo is shot with a flash.
And all these 3 photos is shot with natural light from a window and different reflectors.
From the left; a white reflector, silver reflector and black board reflector.
Shooting with natural light inside by the window and the light is also too hard – I am creating the same soft and smooth light by using a diffuser like a white curtain or a diffusing paper.
When the basic light is set, use different reflectors to create that little extra – more effects – it could be white, silver, black or gold.
– If you are using a long exposure time – dress in black or white clothes and use a tripod.
– If the light is too hard – make it softer by shooting in the shadows or diffuse the light.
– Create effects with different reflectors.
I’m looking forward to seeing your photos at Instagram #foodphotoassignment