03: Experimenting with light

I decided to do this exercise using natural light only as it’s definitely something I favour. There are photographers such as Rineke Dijkstra and Tom Hunter, who use natural light beautifully but I’m sure they have other tricks up their sleeve too and would never JUST use the sun. This is something I’m beginning to realise, although something looks completely natural – it rarely is!

I’ve found this site called Guess the Lighting which is really interesting and sketches out lighting plans – also giving background info on certain shots.

This one in particular shows how Rineke Dijkstra managed to achieve the lighting for her famous beach portraits. Using a fill light on the right hand side to complement the overcast sun.

I had to use myself for this exercise as there weren’t any willing participants within range. I used a tripod and remote to take these outside.

These pictures illustrate for me how important the suns position is when you’re shooting outside and the different effects you can get depending on how you face. These shots were all taken within a couple of minutes of each other.

The first one was taken with the sun directly in my face. Yes it was super bright, and you can see it’s cast a not very nice shadow under my chin. I do however light the way the background colours have come out.



This next shot was in reverse with the sun behind me. I actually thought this would turn out a lot darker but that’s because the sun was quite far left, so not directly behind my head which would have given a halo effect. What it has done is given a blurred effect to the shot. It definitely isn’t as crisp as the first one.


The third one was from the side on. It’s quite dark on the side where the sun isn’t so if I wanted to combat that I could either use a fill flash on the left, or use a reflector to reflect the sun back against the left side of my face. In fact, if I was to pick one from this series, I would use this but reshoot with a reflector.




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