Winter Sky Light Photography [NSFW]

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Sierra Skye is one of the most known models that came from the rise of Instagram and has a fruitful career working for numerous brands. I photographed her last January, and finally, we are releasing the images.  

For this video and post, I want to discuss why I love the winter light and how I used it for the Sierra Skye photo shoot. The only light source was the sun and the golden side of the bounce. Below, I want to discuss why the winter sky is my favorite time of year to shoot outside, and how to work with models that are wearing less than standard photo shoots.

The Winter Sky Is the Best Sky

In this shoot, I worked with the winter sun, which I feel is one of the most beautiful lights that we have all year. In the Los Angeles area, like major cities around the world, we have a problem with pollution that affects the sky and light. Visibility and light quality suffer in the summer months as the air is stagnant.

In the winter, I notice we have true blue skies and that breeze, which blows the smog away. That is the first reason that I love the winter sky. I feel the quality of light is somehow cleaner and sharper, something that I like. In southern California, it seems the air is crisper and especially that way after precipitation, and maybe that's why I feel that the light has more contrast.

The second reason is the angle of the sun: even at midday, the angle of the sun is quite complimentary. It illuminates the face beautifully, and because of the low sun angle, the model avoids the raccoon eyeshadows.

When most studio lights are based on the sun, why not access the original and use the sun? I find that the winter sun is most like my beauty dish modifier, which gives a powerful, clean light, strong shadows under the jawline, a more contrasty light. 

Respecting the Model's Privacy

Sierra is a famous bikini model, and she's known for her body. With that said, every single model must give you permission to enter private areas or to touch intimate garments.

Even though swimsuit models are used to flaunting their bodies, we must ask for their permission. The note goes to male and female photographers, but especially us male photographers. That is why in the video, you can hear me ask for permission before entering her closet. Yes, she knew that I was looking in her closet for additional garments, but I need to hear permission instead of assuming.

Hopefully, the video showed you why I love the winter sky that much. You can see how we used a golden bounce to warm up a scene and even attempt to fake the afternoon golden look. 

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3 Comments

Aaron B.'s picture

Great article. LA is at the top of my places to visit in the US and you helped me to decide what season would be best to visit!

Additionally, the 2nd part is important. I do that with male and female photographers any time I need to physically move a body part, hair, adjust clothing. Simply out of respect and to keep the model comfortable.

Walid Azami's picture

Thanks Aaron. LA is also good for the summer but photographically, maybe winter is best. We don't really have seasons so you're getting a very hot summer, a medium hot summer or kinda cold summer. :)

Aaron B.'s picture

Haha! I will keep that in mind.