Mastering Natural Light in Portrait Photography | Sophia Carey | Skillshare

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Mastering Natural Light in Portrait Photography

teacher avatar Sophia Carey, Photographer & Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.

      Direct Light


    • 6.

      Shadow Play


    • 7.

      Backlighting & Sidelighting


    • 8.

      Golden Hour vs Blue Hour


    • 9.

      Low Light


    • 10.

      Behind the Scenes: Direct Light


    • 11.

      Behind the Scenes: Overcast


    • 12.

      Editing Tips: Part 1


    • 13.

      Editing Tips: Part 2


    • 14.

      Wrap Up


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About This Class

Working in natural light is one of the key elements of being a portrait photographer. Once you've mastered shooting in the various different lighting scenarios that you could come across, the rest of photography becomes a lot less daunting and a lot easier to deal with.

In this class, we're going to be exploring some of the most common types of natural light you might experience, what they mean and some of my best tips on how to tackle shooting in them. We'll be covering the theory of lighting scenarios and techniques such as direct light, backlighting and shadow play, as well as going behind the scenes as I shoot on a bright, sunny day and on a cloudy, overcast day, before jumping into Adobe Lightroom and looking at some common tools and techniques you can use to tackle natural light shooting.

This class will cover:

  • Exposure, what it is and top tips
  • Shooting in midday light
  • Shooting in overcast scenarios
  • Backlighting, and how to use it
  • How to avoid colour casts, and how to correct colour casts in Adobe Lightroom
  • Key tools in Adobe Lightroom
  • Fixing underexposed and underexposed film scans, in Adobe Lightroom

Extra Resources:

For more information on how to shoot in low-light scenarios, as well as a detailed understanding of the exposure triangle, check out my class Winter Portraits: Shooting in Low Light, Rain and Snow

Meet Your Teacher

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Sophia Carey

Photographer & Designer

Top Teacher

Hi guys, I'm Sophia! I'm a photographer, videographer and graphic designer, specialising mostly in fashion and event photography, and I'm taking to Skillshare to share what I've learned throughout my freelance career so far, including tips on photography, design and creative business skills.

I've been working as a photographer for the past six years, working with clients across fashion, music and lifestyle! I work with both film and digital photography and have been honoured to work with some amazing faces, teams and clients, from global companies such as Vodafone and Red Bull, to amazing individuals like Leigh-Anne Pinnock of Little Mix and Georgia Stanway and Mary Earpes, two Lionesses.

You can find me most of the time over on Instagram and YouTube, so f... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Lighting is a key factor of any successful image. It can determine not only how light or dark and images, but also the tone, the atmosphere, and even the narrative of an image working in natural light can be a daunting experience when you begin with photography, the most obvious thing that people struggle with when it comes to natural light is its lack of predictability. Whilst this anxiety is likely to exist regardless of your Photography niche. When working in Portrait Photography. This can be amplified by the pressure of working with other people. I'm wanting to appear confident and in control as what is the visual effects of unpredictable lighting? Understanding how to work in a different natural light scenarios can allow you to feel prepared and in-control, exude confidence and produce outstanding results regardless of what the weather or the Light has in store for you. My name is fake Harry and I'm a portrait photographer from the UK, having worked with clients such as little mix, Nike, Adidas, and many more, working in natural light is one of my favorite parts of the job. It keeps you thinking on your feet and it has the ability to help you create amazing images is my view that if you can master Shooting in natural light, then you can handle just about anything that's thrown in the world of photography. In today's class, we're going to be exploring the most common lighting scenarios that you'll run into when shooting with natural light, and how to best utilize them to flatter your subjects, create atmosphere, and generally you get the best out of your photographs. We're gonna be talking about some real basics of photography. We're gonna be referencing exposure. We're going to be talking about how to deal with really basic lighting scenarios. But we're also going to be deep diving into how you can also use these techniques to shoot on film. We're going to really be diving into the intricacies of Exposure, what these terms mean, and how to deal with them. So whether you're a beginner or you are a little bit more of an advanced photographer, this class is gonna be great for you. So let's get stuck in 2. Class Project: Firstly, thank you guys so much for continuing in this class with me. I'm really excited to get stuck in and talk about all things natural light and how we can best utilize the light that we're given, the available light to our advantage. So throughout this class, we're going to be setting a class project. And for our class project, I want you guys to utilize one of the lighting scenarios or techniques that will be exploring in this class. So the project is to pick just one of these lighting scenarios that we're gonna go through and take a portrait or a couple of Portraits using that technique or using that lighting scenario and then share it in the project gallery so we can have a look and I can give you guys some feedback on it. So whilst we go through the class, keep in mind the class projects and think about which lighting scenario you want to use when you submit your projects to the project gallery, it would be great if you could let me know which lighting scenario that you've taken advantage of. But without saying much more, less gets stuck in 3. Equipment: Let's talk equipment. So I'm a firm believer in the idea that the best camera is the one that you have available to you. So we're gonna be using any camera that you can get your hands-on for this class, whether that is a iPhone or the newest DSLR or a film camera. We're going to be talking about film photography as well as digital photography during this class. But really it doesn't matter what camera you're using. These basic rules and understanding of light can apply to whatever camera you're using and whatever equipment you're using. That being said, I'm going to run through some of the equipment and that I will be using in this video. And why? So firstly, the camera I'll be using is the Sony A7 three. And this is my go-to camera for everything including portraits. It's great and low-light scenarios because it's mirrorless. It's handles those higher ISOs really well, alongside my Sony A7 three, I'm also going to be using a Mamiya, ours at 67, which is a medium format six by seven film camera. In terms of lenses on the Sony A7 three, I'm going to be shooting with the 35 millimeter. It's a Sigma lens, 1.4 aperture. This is my go-to lens. Again for everything, not just portraits, but I do love it for portraits. It stops all the way down to 1.4, which is great for getting that separation between your subject and your background if you need to. In terms of my film camera, I'm gonna be using the 110 millimeter 2.8 circle C lens. This is a really tight, really cropped lens, great for portrait photography. But like I said, cameras, lenses, it doesn't matter what you're using for this class. If you're really new to photography and you are looking to invest in a good camera or a good lens. My first camera was a Canon EOS 650 day, which is a great beginning camera. And I would definitely recommend it in terms of lenses, no matter what you're level of photography, your skill level, I always recommend the 50 millimeter 1.8 lens for portraits. It's a great lens for portrait. It's really flattering for your subjects and you can generally pick it up for quite a low cost if you are looking for a beginner setup and you don't want to use your phone or something like that, then that is a setup that I would definitely recommend. So aside from the camera and lens or whatever you're using to take the photos. I'm also going to be referencing a few other bits of equipment during this class. And starting off with a reflector. Reflector is something that as it sounds, reflects light into an image. You can buy like 3.1 reflectors that have like silver surfaces and things like that to help reflect light into the images. But you can also make your own out of tin foil, out of white paper. So bear that in mind when we're moving through the class. I'll also be referencing ND filters. And ND filters are essentially a filter that you can put over your lens, your camera lens that can help to reduce the amount of light into an image. And next up, I'm gonna be talking about light meters. And meters are especially important if you're shooting on film or a camera that doesn't have a built-in light meter. Most digital cameras and a lot of film cameras do have built-in like meters. And they essentially help you to gauge the level of lights and understand what settings you need for the correct exposure. If your camera doesn't have a built-in light meter, you can invest in an external light meter, or like I do for my film photography, I use a series of different phone apps to help me gauge the lighting situation. But don't worry, I will be talking a little bit more about light and exposure and all of that in the next lesson. So if you're ready to get stuck in, then join me in the next lesson, we're going to be talking all things, exposure 4. Exposure: Grab a pen and pencil because there's going to be a lot of note-taking in this lesson. I'm going to be throwing in theory as well as a practical exposure. This whole class is about lighting and one of the most important things to understand when you're trying to understand lighting is exposure. In the last video, we referenced things like ND filters and light meters. And these are all tools that can help you either judge or achieve perfect exposures. But what is exposure? Exposure is the amount of light that reaches a photosensitive material. So for example, this could be your camera sensor in a digital camera, or it could be the film in your film camera. In really simple layman's terms, exposure is how dark or light your image is. How do we expose correctly? How do we find the correct exposure? There are three variables that affect exposure, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. And these three variables make up something that we call the exposure triangle. If you don't already know about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and you want a better understanding of it. Do have a class on Skillshare that goes through that in detail. I'm going to link that in the description. It's called Winter Portraits Shooting in Low Light Rain and Snow. And there's an entire section dedicated to using your manual settings in your camera to control your aperture or your shutter speed and your ISO to find exposure. But essentially we use something like the exposure triangle to achieve a correct exposure. The way in which we read exposure, however, is a little bit different. So as I referenced in the last video, you can use something called a light meter, which judges how much light is coming into an image and therefore, how you need to control those three variables to best achieve correct exposure. Most digital cameras and also a lot of film cameras, will have something inside. So when you look through your viewfinder, you see this little line and another little line that's kinda like jittering along that line and telling you if your image is currently exposed, if it's one-stop, overexposed, if it's one stop underexposed, etcetera. This terminology stops is how we measure exposure. So one-stop overexposed, three stops overexposed For stops underexposed, and then correctly exposed would be zero. So if that's showing that you're two stops underexposed, then you need to let more light into the camera. If it showing that you are two stops overexposed, you need to let less light into the camera. Like I mentioned previously, if you don't have a built-in light meter, you can use an external light meter or a Light me to app on your phone, which helps to read the light in the situation and suggests the settings for you. But what happens if we shoot an image and it's overexposed or it's underexposed, how much does that actually matter? So this is something we call dynamic range. Dynamic range is measured in stops or exposure values, essentially establishes the relationship with the existing light intensity between the darker shadows and the brightest highlights. Therefore, a camera with a large dynamic range is capable of capturing simultaneously in the same frame the detail in a very dark areas of a scene and also very bright areas of the scenes. So for example, your dynamic range, a good example of whether or not your camera has good dynamic range is how well it can handle a really sunny direct light image. So if the image has loads of direct light or the shadows correctly exposed or can you bring back detail? Are the highlights also correctly exposed? Exposure latitude is what we're referencing when we're talking about how much can we over or underexposed image. It's especially reference when you're shooting on film. And this can vary from film stock to film stock. A good example of a film stock that has great exposure latitude and you can shoot overexposed slightly and underexposed slightly and it doesn't make a difference or much difference is portrait 400, Kodak's portrait 400. Essentially it means that some film stocks are more lenient being over or underexposed when it comes to metering for an image and finding that correct exposure, there are different things to think about. Whether you are shooting on digital, whether you shooting on negative film or on the slide film. So generally speaking, when we're shooting on a digital camera, your digital camera will save more information in the shadows, then it will in the highlights. So because of this, you are going to want to expose for the skin. So whilst it is best to expose perfectly incorrectly washed, you can, if you have to choose between overexposing, underexposing, you'll want to underexposed. When we're working with portraiture, you're going to want to expose for the skin because that's really important that that information is stored correctly and captured correctly. For example, if you have an image that has really dark shadows, and then you think to yourself, Well, I don't want those shadows to be dark. I'm going to change my settings so that the shadows aren't dark. But now the skin is overexposed, it's too light. Then you're going to have an issue there with getting back that information because digital cameras don't hold the highlight information as well as it does shadows. So in this case, you're going to want to make sure that the skin is as best less tissue cat. And this is regardless of skin tones, you're going to want to focus on making sure that whatever skin tone and color someone has That is captured properly or as accurately as you can, the highlights and shadows you can sort that out imposed. We can deal with that afterwards. I'm whilst you still want to expose for the skin, when it comes to film, the opposite happens in terms of whether information is saved. So for example, film generally retains the most information in the highlights opposed to the shadows. So you're going to want to up to overexposed rather than underexposed. So whilst in digital we'd rather underexposed and over in film, in negative film in particular, you're going to want to overexpose rather than underexpose. Under exposures with film generally creates a really muddy kind of look. It's difficult to recover that information that is lost in the shadows. This doesn't apply to slide film. So slide film is a type of film which essentially creates positive images instead of negative images, is also referred to as reversal film because of this, and it generally has less exposure latitude, the negative film. So it's more important when you're shooting on slide film to get that exposure, correct. It doesn't deal too well with overexposure or underexposure. Focusing on getting her exposure spot on. I'm getting it bang on the little zero in the middle. Having it perfectly balanced is key when you're shooting with slide film. Whereas digital photography and negative film take a little bit of under and over if needs be. The key thing here is understanding the kid you're using. And different cameras will have different abilities when it comes to dynamic range and exposure latitude. As we'll different film stocks. For example, my Canon 6D mark to will likely recover less information than my Sony A7 three. And when it comes to film portrait 400 is often a top choice as it usually renders good results with you underexposed, overexposed, a couple of stops. I know that this all sounds really confusing, but for now, the key things to remember that you want to expose for the skin. Why possible? So this means you want the skin to be, well, it's not too bright and not too dark. If you're shooting on digital, it's better to underexposed. Overexposed. If you can't correctly expose. When it comes to negative film, it's better to overexposed than underexposed, where you can't expose correctly. And when it comes to slide film, again, don't worry about it being split on every time, but if you can currently expose than make sure you do, hopefully as we move through this class, these terms and these ideas will become a lot more comfortable. But for now, those are the key takeaways. Write them down if you need to. But I always think that the best way to really get to grips with theory, especially in a subject such as Photography, is to get stuck in an experiment. So grab your notes and join me in the next lesson where we're gonna be talking about shooting portraits in Direct Light 5. Direct Light: So now we've covered the basics of exposure. We are going to start talking about different types of lighting. And then we're going to put it all into practice. So let's get started with lighting and let's start with direct Light, which is arguably the type of lighting that people struggle with. The most. Direct light usually refers to when the sun is behind the photographer shining onto the model. So you're likely experienced this kind of lighting around midday on a summer's day. So when it comes to direct light, there are a lot of things that can cause you issues. It's a tricky type of lighting to master, but that doesn't mean that we can't use some really simple techniques to get to grips with it. Some of the problems that you might find, especially when it comes to portraiture working with people, is that if the sun is shining onto a modal space, then it's likely they're going to be a little bit uncomfortable. You can have a bit uncomfortable squinting and also some harsh shadows under the eyes, under the eyelashes and eyebrows, and knows the chin depending on your models, a facial features. Too often the shadows aren't that flattering, so we want to minimize them best we can. One of the ways that I like to minimize the shadows is by using something like a reflector. As a reminder of reflector is something that reflects light into an image. You can buy reflectors, which are essentially collapsible. Bits of material that are often silver or whites. And you can use that bit of material to reflect light from the sun, the natural light in your setting, onto a model's face. However, you don't actually have to buy a reflector. You can use anything that is a light surface. So to demonstrate this, I have with me a chopping board, this white chopping board. What we can see in a minute is how I can use this chopping board to reflect light into my face. You might already be up to see it. Now, just from me holding it here. So the best way for me to demonstrate this is that this side of my face is a little bit more in the shade because my light source, the window light, the natural light is coming from here. So this light is bouncing onto my face here, but it's causing a little bit of shadow on this side of my face. You can see however, when I pick up this white chopping board and hold it to the side of my face. How this side gets a little bit lighter. You can see it here in my hair, how the chopping board is reflecting that light into the image. Another more subtle example is how I can reflect the light under my chin to fill in those shadows. That is essentially how you use a reflector. Use the reflector to reflect the light and fill in any uncomfortable or awkward shadows that might be on your model spaces. Of course, you don't need to use a chopping board. You could use a bit of white card or anything that is white. And the bigger the surface area, the better because you can have a bigger surface area to reflect from. Whilst white can reflect light into an image. Black, we'll do the opposite. Black will take light out of an image. And then you have other things to consider, like colour casts. A great example of this is say you have some trees, you're shooting in a woodland area. The sun is really bright. Often your model skin, my take on a little bit of a green cast. And that's all that's happening, is that the color from the green leaves is reflecting onto the surface of the model. A great example of this is this pink hair brush for put it to my cheek. You can see how the pink is reflecting onto my cheat. So you might want to think about that when you're shooting with really strong direct Light about other colors that you're wearing going to reflect into the image if you're wearing a really particularly bright outfit, and that's the same with whatever the model's wearing as well, obviously because those clothes are gonna be much closer to them. But what if you don't have a reflector? You don't have a DIY reflector. How can you use the idea of reflection to deal with harsh shadows or uncomfortable lighting scenarios. One of the ways is by utilizing the natural reflections in your area. So maybe you're shooting next to a white building that is gonna be a great natural reflector or body of water light. You all have seen the way that light reflects off of water bodies of water, that can be a great natural reflector. For example, if it's snowing, if the ground is covered in snow, that is one massive mass of whites that can reflect into your image. If you can shoot in harsh direct light, then you're pretty much equipped for Shooting in any scenario. But in the next lesson, we're gonna be talking about how we can utilize shadow play. And shadow play can be really useful when we're talking about Shooting in the middle of the day in Direct Light. So join me in the next lesson where we can talk about shadow play and how you can utilize that. Especially when you're shooting with a really bright light source. 6. Shadow Play: Shooting in the shade or the shadows is arguably the easiest of all natural light techniques is not as unpredictable that aren't as many weird, harsh shadows to deal with. And you don't really have to worry about exposing for the shadows or highlights because most things tend to be of a pretty similar exposure. So this makes it really easy for you to Exposure subjects correctly and just focus on the content and the composition of your image. It's a very even Light which is aesthetically pleasing and makes it easy to draw attention to all aspects of your image. So shooting in the shade generally happens when it's overcast day, when there's clouds in the sky. But you can also take advantage of this when It's the middle of the day and you're struggling with that direct light, just as we referenced when we're talking about Direct Light. Direct Light Makes loads of shadows, buildings, harsh shadows, trees casts shadows. All of these items and objects are casting shadows. And it's very easy to move your subject into one of those shadows to create a shaded area for you to work in. Shooting in the shade. Sounds like the perfect recipe, doesn't it? But there are some drawbacks to shooting on an overcast day or Shooting in the shade. It doesn't tend to be as dynamic as other lighting techniques. So because of this, you might want to look for additional techniques that you can use to add a little bit of something to your image. So for example, when shooting under trees in the shade, for example, you might want to look for dabbled or disperse light, where the sunlight is falling through gaps in the leaves and falling on your subject creating really nice, interesting shapes. Again, you might want to consider looking for reflections from water or even using a reflector to bounce light from brighter areas of your surrounding into the shade and lighting up aspects of your image. So cloudy days essentially creates a massive softbox for you. And a softbox is something that we use a lot in studio lighting that disperses or modifies the light and diffuses it. If you think about it, a cloud is just like that. It's a giant diffuser for the sun. And this is great because it creates a really even and flattering light. If you do want to add a little bit of extra dynamic, again, just like when shooting in the shadows, you can create directional light by using your surroundings. Natural reflectors to add light into an image, or using dark areas like blocks of trees to create shadow. But generally speaking, Shooting in the shade and shooting in a cloudy, overcast day tend to use the same techniques. In the next lesson, we're going to be talking about a technique called backlighting, which is quite similar to Shooting in the shade. It uses the same principles, but it has a little bit of an extra spice to it. So join me in the next lesson where we're going to be talking about backlighting and Sidelighting 7. Backlighting & Sidelighting: We've discussed direct Light and we've discussed how we can utilize and deal with some of the problems that Direct Light provides. We've also talked about Shooting in the shade and how we can use that during times where the sun is really high, midday sun is creating all these problems for you. But another way that you can utilize this direct light, but in a way that doesn't embrace the harshness is by using a technique called backlighting or Sidelighting. This technique is actually one of my personal favorites. It creates a really soft, light, low contrast look and essentially refers to having the light come from behind your subject or to the side of the subjects. Illuminating the edges of your model. Backlighting can also help to maintain detail in your backdrop. For example, you could expose for the background and then use the reflector or something that is reflective to bounce light onto your subject and your subject so that everything is well exposed. My best tip to know whether or not you are Backlighting your subject is to ask them to face their shadow. This should ensure that the sunlight is coming from behind them. And when it comes to Sidelighting, the technique is similar and you just have to have the shadow at the side of the model. I love using this technique, especially late summer or in golden Hour where the sun is really low and you can go for like a really magical fill with the lighting. I also really love it for weddings and wedding groups as well, because if you ask people to face their shadows, then they're not gonna be facing the sun. So that means they're not gonna be squinting and you're not going to have all of those awkward. You know, when your eyes are tearing up because the sun's to bright, you're not going to have all of that to deal with. A drawback of backlighting is that it can cause a little bit of lens flare on occasion. So what you wanna do here is just move your camera about so that the sun isn't directly coming into your camera lens. Alternatively, you could invest in a lens hood to help protect it. On the other hand, you might want to embrace a lens flare. I know a lot of people really like having that in their works, that extra dynamic. In the next lesson, we're gonna be talking about golden Hour and Blue Hour, which are both great times at the day to utilize something like backlighting 8. Golden Hour vs Blue Hour: Now we've explored the idea of backlighting. I want to talk about two particular times of the day where it's can be really useful to use backlighting or side lighting as a technique. So the first is golden hour, and I'm sure you've already heard of golden hour. It refers to that time shortly after sunrise or shortly before sunset. During this time, as the name suggests, the light is really golden and warm. You often have a really low sun and shooting backlit is my favorite way to shoot in golden hour because it creates a really ethereal feeling. Something you might want to consider when you're shooting golden hour though, is that you are starting to lose light. You might want to use a higher ISO to allow more light into your lens to deal with these scenarios. Alternatively, blue hour is the opposite of golden hour, if you will. And it's when the light is often quite blue as per the name. And it's just before the sun is about to rise, and just after it is set in this time in particular, you do have less light than golden hour. So again, you want to think about maybe increasing your ISO or dropping your aperture. In the next lesson, we'll talk a bit more in detail about what you can do when you're faced with a situation where you're shooting in low light scenario 9. Low Light: Whilst I love shooting golden Hour and I love shooting in Blue Hour. One of the drawbacks is that light is starting to diminish, especially in Blue Hour, these low-light situations, they don't just happen during Blue Hour, they're often unavoidable, especially if you live somewhere like the UK, like I do, where we're not always blessed with the best or the most light, especially not all year-round. So in order to shoot in low-light, you either have to introduce more light will work out a way for your camera to let in more light when it comes to introducing more Light, I'm talking about using a lot of the techniques that we've already discussed in this class, such as reflectors, whether it's natural or artificial. And you can also look for artificial light in your surroundings, especially as it becomes nighttime, shop start to put lights on and things like that. And you can always utilize these artificial lights and ambient lights in your surroundings. However, it's not always possible, or maybe you don't want to introduce more light into image. So how do you deal with it in that scenario? So this is where having a good understanding of your camera, its capabilities, how to use it, Settings come into play. And this is where I referenced earlier on in the class, the exposure triangle. The three variables that control it, your shutter speed, your aperture, and your ISO. Whilst all three of these variables individually controlled different aspects of your image, such as shutter speed, freezing, or capturing motion. They also contribute to how well exposed your images. Essentially, you can use these three controls to let more light into your image and make it easier to shoot in low-light scenarios, for example, widening your aperture, lowering the f-stop number will let more light into your camera, but decrease your depth of field. Lowering your shutter speed will allow more light into your camera, leave you more vulnerable to Camera Shake or motion blur. Raising your ISO will also brighten up an image, but it's going to introduce more grain. It's important to understand your camera and the tools that you're using to know which of these should be your first move and how far you can push each one of them. I'd recommend experimenting with your camera and fully understanding the exposure triangle and how your camera works to understand how to best change your settings in low-light scenarios. In the next lesson, join me as we go behind the scenes on a portrait shoot. 10. Behind the Scenes: Direct Light: Welcome to the practical part of the class. Well, we're going to be going through some behind the scenes footage from past sheets. In this shoot, we are shooting on both film using a film stock called Kodak Gold 200, which has a preset ISO of 200, as well as shooting on digital as well. So only shoot, it's the middle of the day. The sun is right in the middle of the sky, creating some really harsh shadows. The first thing I do is take the model into a shaded area to utilize them or even light while as we start shooting and warming up, one of the things I like to do is make my job as easy as possible for myself. So if it's a model that I've not worked with before, there's still that little bit of warming up to do. And I'm going to take away some of the destruction that dealing with really direct shadows is going to cause me and I'm going to move into the shadows, move into that shaded area, and start shooting with some easier lighting. Was I warm up? I must the model warms up. So we're gonna go 123. Let's get you a little bit further out whether light is split. See how it looks. Kinda like lean? Yeah. How far can you lean without feeling awkward? Can you lean with your elbow on here? Yeah. Perfect. Lean a little bit about yet. So let half of your faces and come back a bit forward a bit for me. Yeah. But we're gonna go 123. After shooting for awhile in the shadows, I moved the model into an area that's more exposed to the sun and we shoot with the sun coming from the side as the model. And you'll notice that there's lighting is changing really quickly. This is definitely something to be aware of on days where the sun is bright and uncovered. Because cloud coverage can quickly form and it can quickly change. Meaning the EDs be aware of how the light is changing and you need to know how you're going to change your Camera Settings to respond to that light changing quickly. And that's we're going to go 123. And then just look straight ahead at me for me even. Perfect. We're going to go on to the, in the next lesson, we're going to take a look at shooting on an overcast day. 11. Behind the Scenes: Overcast: In this lesson, we're diving into some more behind the scenes. But this time the sun was covered by clouds, which is what we call an overcast or cloudy day. Or overcast day is the light is really even and it's often quite flattering because you don't have those harsh shadows that direct light cause. So think about the sun being your light source and the cloud is this huge softbox diffusing your light before it falls onto your subject. As I mentioned earlier, one of the problems that you might run into on overcast lighting days is that it lacks any dynamic to it. Because of this, it can be important to introduce texture, contrast, other kind of photographic elements elsewhere. So you'll see that the model is wearing a red outfit which helps to contrast against the green environment. 123. Lovely. And we've just got a different angle. If you kinda look down towards me. Yeah, that's lovely. Hold that for me. Perfect. Hold that. I'm going to count you down. We're gonna go 123. Lovely. Now I got to play, so I'll just skip it. Yeah, that's lovely. Hold that right there for me. Let me focus that. We're gonna go 12. To create even more dynamic. We also show a few images in more shaded areas where the trees were creating a shadow, casting a shadow and added an extra element to the lighting so that we don't just end up with a flat image. Now that we're coming to the end of our behind-the-scenes section now would be a great time to head out with your camera and use the theory that we've explored to shoot your images for the class project. In the next lesson, we're gonna be going through some post-processing and editing tips for you to use on the images that you capture. But all that's left for me to say in this lesson is good luck and enjoy shooting. And I will see you guys in the next one. 12. Editing Tips: Part 1: So now we've gone through all the theory of exposure and all the different types of natural lighting or the most common types of natural lighting. And we've also gone and we've shot our images. We have a selection of images we want to use and it's time to edit them. In this lesson, we're going to be going through some top tips when it comes to post-production. And I'm going to be talking you through some of the key features in Adobe Lightroom that I use when it comes to working with natural light. So we're going to start off by jumping into Lightroom classic. You can also use Lightroom CC or any other kind of editing software. A lot of the tools that we're going to be using in Lightroom classic or similar throughout different softwares. I've got a selection of images here at the bottom, and they're all going to be used to show you different things to do with Editing different natural light setups. So for example, we're going to start with this image which has got a really basic preset on it, but none of the exposure has been changed. And what we're gonna do is we're going to take these blown out areas like the skin and correct them. And I'm going to show you how to do that using just the exposure contrast highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. The important thing to note is that each one of these sliders controls a different part of the image. If I move the highlights down, you can see in the shirt they, the data is either coming back when I reduce the highlights or it's been blown out when I increase it. You can also see in the skin That's something similar is happening. We're going to bring those highlights all the way down to bring back some of the detail in these highlights. This image, as you can tell by the light on the back of the model's hair is back-lit. So that means the Sun is here. You can see that it's hitting these flowers and it's hitting the back of the model. What I also want to do is I want to reduce some of the contrast in this image. And you can do so using the contrast button here. I find that with a backlit image sometimes going for that. Lack of contrast can really help to create more of an ethereal fill. Let's take a look at the shadows. So you can see here that it's selecting all of these dark shadows around here. And either making them really dark or really light. But for me, I just want to increase it slightly just to bring back some of that ethereal feeling that I was talking about. And to even out some of the contrast between the backdrop on the model. Next up we have blacks. And blacks, again, refers to the dark is point of the image. So you can see that they're getting really dark or really light. Again, I'm just going to raise that a tiny bit. Your whites refer to the lightest part of your image. So you can see here we're really bringing back detailed in the forehead. I'm going to have to about half way. So now I've got to an exposure that I'm quite happy with when I can really play around with colors. So increasing the temperature, making the image a little bit warmer can sometimes really lend itself to these backlit situations where the sun is really low and would probably in real life, cost quite a golden tone. A little bit like how we were talking about golden Hour. And then if you want to counter some of that yellow, especially in the skin tones, you can introduce a little bit more pink to the image by sending your temperature towards magenta, you can also use things like the hue saturation and luminance sliders to change the image. So if you don't want these greens to be as yellow as they are, you headed into the hue. You can send these greens a little bit more towards the green and blue II Section. Same with yellows. In the next image, we're going to head into this image again, has a preset on it. But we're going to kind of work around how it's a little bit underexposed darker in these sections. And again, we're going to start with these tools. We're going to introduce a little bit more in the highlights. Just the skin pops a bit more in the shadows as well. Sometimes when you move the shadows and you move the blacks all the way up, it just creates a flat image and you don't want that. You still want a little bit more of a dynamic field to the lighting. So we're going to keep that shadows down. Obviously, the image is still too dark and that's where we're going to use exposure. And just bring this slider up, which changes the overall exposure of the image, will increase the exposure and then counter the, the lightness in the skin using the highlights and the whites. And then we are free to introduce a little bit more in the shadows. It's just a game of fine tweaking really, to get the image how you want it to be. This image is an image where not only is the modal backlit, but we also have a lot of shadow play with the dabbled light around here. You can see that she's backlit because she's facing her shadow, like I said before. Again, we're just going to play around with these Highlights shadows, whites and blacks, until we get an image that we like, bringing down the exposure a little bit just to bring it back some of that detail in the skin. And you just want to play around really and get to a point where you enjoyed the image. So you see that we bought back a lot of the detail in the backdrop that was pretty overexposed. One of the things you really want to think about when you're shooting with digital is ensuring that you're shooting in a profile which we call R4. And R4 is the type of file that you're recording. You can go into your Camera Settings and change it to R4. And what this means is it saves more information within the photo. Whereas you would have a JPEG. Jpeg is a very flat version of an image and the just adjusting you can do is quite minimal. So if I show you the same photo, but one version is R4 on one version is JPEG. So this is the JPEG and this is the raw image. What we're gonna do is we're gonna do the same adjustments on each image and we're going to see how the different files respond differently. So again, this one is the raw image and we're going to bring the highlights all the way down. So when we do that, you can see that it's really just selecting the lightest part of the image. So these bits around here could do that again. This is the JPEG version. We're gonna do the same thing again, but you can see that it's just selecting highlights in every part of the image. It hasn't got that information to know which bit is the most blown out, which bit has the most light in it. So it's just applying a general highlights the saturation. So already we can see the difference between the JPEG and the raw with just one adjustment. We're going to go back into this row and we're going to bring down the whites. Again. You can see it's just flattening of these whites around the outside and some of the ones on the skin back into the JPEG and we're going to flatten the whites. This one was minimal, but you can see again, it's just bringing down everything. Back into the rural. We're going to bring down the shadows. The shadows. It's really just affecting the outer edges of the image, some of the skin and the hair. But see what it does with the JPEG. So again, we can see that it's really brought down most of the image. Let's go back into that reference view. So this is the row and this is the JPEG on the left. And you can see these are the same adjustments, but the detail that's been maintained within the raw file is much greater. You can have a lot more flexibility within edit. So don't worry if you have shoot in JPEG, you can edit the images. As you can see. Editing is possible, but you get a lot more control if you do shoot your photos in R4, let's go back into this image. Just reset it out and we're going to look at the colour casts so there's no preset or anything on this image. This is just the straight out of camera image. And we're going to look at how we can make this skin a little bit less yellow. So the first thing that I would do is I would head over to the temperature and just adjust the temperatures and that too pink a little bit. And you can see that we're removing some of that color cast and put it before and after on screen. So you can see, I'm going to also reduce the yellow a little bit. Send it to think even more. Then we're going to head down into the hue saturation and luminance sliders. And just really tweak a little bit more and get some of this yellow out, even though the skin tones looking much better already. And we're gonna do that by reducing the yellow in this slider. You don't do it too much because there's also yellow in skin tones, but you just want to do it a little bit so that yellow and green comes out of the image. We're going to bring down the green as well. Of course, this is reducing the green on the outside. I don't personally mind that. If you did want to avoid it, you would be able to mask the skin and just have effects on the skin. So, but personally, I am not going to do that for this example. So you can already see that we've got a lot less yellow and a lot less green in this image. Once you get it to this point where your temperature, you're happy with your temperature. You can then start really making your adjustments. Bring about detail with highlights, increasing contrast or reducing contrast, even adding split toning to help counter this yellow. Although we haven't gotten a lot of it left. So what that's doing is adding a slight purple into the mid tones of the image. We can also do the same with the highlights, add a little bit of red, and if you really want to, you can also add something into the shadows. You can see we've really taken out of that green cost, even if we introduce some of this green and yellow, it's not that obvious. So you have to before was agreeing costs and the after, which was only after a few tweaks to temperature mostly. And then into your HSL sliders on your color grading section. 13. Editing Tips: Part 2: Next up, we're going to take a look at these film shorts. And these film shorts are underexposed. And you can see this by the moodiness in the blacks and the shadows. A lot of detail in these underexposed sections. But we're gonna look at how we might be able to edit this to save some of that detail and improve it. The first thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to bring down the blacks or the shadows even further and see what that does it see if I can create a little bit of contrast within these sections? I'm going to bring the exposure up a little bit just so that we have a little bit more light. The thing with film photos is they perform very similarly to JPEGS because they don't save quite as much information as digital photos. So you do have a little bit less room to work with. I'm just reducing the contrast to see if that helps to kind of maintain the contrast that we've increased with the shadows and the blacks. But to flatten the image a little bit and just let it look a little bit smoother. Again, really small adjustments. So what we can also see is that there's a lot of greens in the shadows that tends to happen with certain film stocks when you underexposed them. Again, we can play around with temperature. We can move it a little bit to the pink, but you don't wanna do it too much because you can see how it affects not only the whole image, the skin tones. So it's just like a fine line between I'm going to bring the warmth up a little bit just so that it does kinda go with that green a little bit more. Again, small adjustments are important. Then we're going to come down to you what we call the tone curve. And the tone curve is a really interesting tool that controls all the different tones in your image. So for example, if I was to put three points in this curve, 123, just to show you what it does, actually, I'll add a couple more five, just to show you really, this bit in the bottom-left is the part of the tone curve that's going to affect the blacks in the image. So as I increase it, you can see that they're getting crushed. This is what we call a crushed black where there isn't really a dark point. And as I decrease it, you can see that it's getting stronger. That black point, I'm going to increase it so that the black point is a little bit stronger there. This top right section is going to control the whites in the image. So if I bring it down, you can see here what it's doing. So the whites, if I bring it up, you can see that it's controlling the whites. For me. I'm going to flatten them slightly so we'll take going to take it from here where it's at its most white and down just to flatten them, just to crush it a little bit. The rest of the points control different parts of the image. So we're going to bring this down a bit, just add a little bit of contrast. We're going to bring this down a little bit just to smooth out some of that skin, not a lot. Again, really small adjustments are reminded that this is the before and this is the after of what we're currently working with. Next up, what we're gonna do is we're gonna go into these different channels of the tone curve. And this bit is really important because it can help us takeaway at some of this green cast in the shadows. So again, I'm going to set out my tone curve and add the different points on each one of the channels. So when you see this, you can see that it goes from red to blue. And that is really going to help you when you're moving these little points to try and understand what you're doing. So for example, let me grab the second one up here, which is going to work on the darker points at the image, but not the blacks, maybe the shadows. As I bring it down towards this blue, you can see how the shadows are going more towards blue and green. As I bring it up, it's going more to wrap Tourette. Let's just reset that by double-clicking. Again in the highlights. Going to read as I go up, going to Blue as I go down. When we're trying to take away some of this colour casts in the shadows. It can be really useful to use this to just tweak it slightly so we're going to bring it a little bit more red into the shadows. Just a tiny bit to try and offset some of that green. I'm going to put the before and after on screens that we can see what we're working with, small adjustments. Then we're gonna go into the grain and we're gonna do the same thing again. We're going to send it slightly towards the purple rather than the green. And again, all we're doing is we're trying to offset some of those shadows. The blue, you have blue on one side and yellow on the other side. So if we wanted to make it colder, we can go up. If we want to make it warmer, we can go down. We're gonna make it slightly warmer. Again, not by a lot. You can see we have got rid of some of those green tones in the shadows. You can play around with it as much as you want to try and get it perfect Really. It's really up to you on how much you want to push it. And then for me now I've got my colors right. I'm just going to go back in and try and get some of that contrast back in. I think this is really good example of why it is important to correctly exposure film because there's a lot more work that needs to be put into a film scan if you have underexposed it. Again, what we can do is we can also reduce the greens in the image down here with your saturation. So you see there is still quite a lot of green in this section. When we bring that down, it disappears almost entirely. And then you're just gonna do a final tweaks. I think that it's a pretty successful color correction. The great thing about Lightroom is you can copy. So if you go into this section here, you can copy all of these adjustments that you've just made. You can paste them onto other images. So we're going to paste that. Of course it still might take a bit tweaking because not every image is the same. It's not all expose the same. But it helps to create a little bit more consistency for you. This image, on the other hand, is overexposed and you can tell just by some of the lack of contrast in the image and the kind of subdued colors. And so what we're gonna do here is we're actually going to increase the contrast. So we're going to start by using our shadows, blacks or whites and our highlights just to bring down the exposure a little bit. Also going to straighten that image up. You can increase the contrast using the contrast tool. You can decrease the exposure. Just trying to find a nice base exposure, base level. You can see already there's a few adjustments. Really did help. And again, you can come into the Tone Curve and increase the contrast if you want. This is a good example of how Film holds more information in your overexposed images than it does in your underexposed images. Because if we look at this image compared to, so if we look at this image compared to this image, you can see that there's a lot more detail held in this image. A lot more we can do than we can with yes. But that brings us to the end of this editing section. Hopefully now you understand how you can reduce colour casts, how you can work with the shadows, the highlights, the whites, the blacks, the contrast, the exposure tools, and also with the tone curves to really help enhance your images. I'll get the most out of what you've shot. 14. Wrap Up: Congratulations for getting to the end of this class all about natural light and how to utilize it for your Portraits. In this class, we have gone through the theory of lighting exposure and some of the most common lighting scenarios when it comes to shooting with natural and available lights. We've also added behind the scenes to explore Shooting in natural light in real time. And we've headed into the editing suite to use some tips and tricks on how we can best edit your natural light photos. If at this point in the class you haven't yet started on your class project. It takes less time to head out with your camera and a model, maybe a friend or family member, and get some photos in any lateral light scenario, once you've completed the class project, to remember that you can upload your photos to the class project gallery where we can have a look at your work and share our feedback. But thank you guys so much for tuning in to this class. Can't wait to see what you create from today's class. Thank you guys so much for watching. And hopefully I will see in the next one