BTS of a Natural Light Portrait Shoot in an AirBnB

It's easy to think that if you want to put together a great portrait shoot you need to book an expensive location and have a room full of lights, but sometimes simplicity can be more rewarding.

In this video, master portrait photographer, Peter Coulson, takes you behind-the-scenes as he shoots a model using only natural light and his AirBnB. It really shows that you don't have to be too elaborate to create a brilliant shoot.

I have conducted a lot of shoots over the years for a plethora of purposes. When I look back at the shoots I enjoyed the most, the bulk of them are simple and free. There is arguably also a correlation between my favorite images (that is, the images I think are strong) and the shoots that were lightweight. Although I enjoy using strobes and particularly colored gels or RGB LEDs, I am still drawn to natural light and reflectors.

I will offer one caveat here about AirBnBs: I have looked at using them for shoots before and some properties have policies in place to prohibit this and it is generally frowned upon. In my experience, simply asking the property owner if you can perform a simple photoshoot on the premises while you are there and unpacking exactly what will happen is a far better route.

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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I actually shot in an AirBnB property recently! It was more of a downtown "hotel" where the residential floors were segregated from the rentals. So, they didn't think it too odd as light stands were going passed the front desk. Had it been more of a private property, there might have been questions. But, shooting in these locations is actually a lot of fun and cheaper than booking a studio for a whole day. The photographer's use of manual focus was interesting as I have done that much in years!