I originally planned a shoot where I intended to use the late afternoon sun as a backlight for my subject and a speedlight in a beauty dish or soft box as my main light. I wanted to capture some delightful warm toned images, and perhaps play around with lens flare. But alas Mother Nature had a different day planned for me. Luckily I’m the flexible type and I come prepared to my portrait sessions.
A wedding photographer, whose name I can not recall at the moment, once wrote in a photography article "I use only available light. I bring my flash units, so they are always available to me." A hearty LOL from this photography nerd for that one, but it is a sentiment that is pretty much shared by any photographer proficient in the art of lighting.
I used to not be amongst those photographers, along with many others simply because lighting is difficult to learn. I would either be a slave to whatever the natural light was, or at use on camera fill with some advanced bouncing/softening techniques or a reflector. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using natural light alone or with fill. But it can be limiting. And as a photographer, I don’t like feeling limited. So for the past few months I had been honing my lighting skills. And on this overcast day, I tapped into my newly learned lighting skills.
I started the session off using just available light. Because the day was overcast, the light was nice and even and the photos were lovely. But they just didn’t have the drama I was looking for.
Adding one speedlight in a beauty dish, the effect was getting more dramatic and more suitable to my photographic style.
A little bit of edge darkening in postwork finished the images off to match my creative vision as planned during the shoot.
But I just couldn’t let go of that late afternoon sunlight theme that I had originally planned for this session, so I decided to add low angle light afternoon sunlight myself. I broke out another speedlight, and added an amber gel. That made that late afternoon glow available!
BTW: If you are a photographer, you don’t need a fancy and expensive kit to create images like these. All you need is a creative mind and an attractive model. My simple equipment consisted of my Olympus E-M5 with a 14-54mm lens with MM2 adapter, Olympus FL50 & FL40 speedlight flashes (used on manual setting, no ttl), simple & cheap radio flash triggers from China, a couple of inexpensive light stands, and the beauty dish & amber gels from the Neewer K9 Speedlight accessory kit which I purchased off ebay. If you are new to photographic lighting, I recommend spending some time learning via a schol/workshop, books, and/or you tube. I particularly love the books & videos by Frank Doorhof, Miss Aniela, Lindsay Adler, Lara Jade, and too many others to list.
You can see more from this session here:
Jessica On A Sunny Late Afternoon
And if you are in need of a photographer and are interested in my work, you can view my portfolio online and book me via my web site:
Dorothy Lee Fashion Portraiture
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