Recent Natural Light Articles

How to Produce and Shoot Your Own Outdoor On-the-Go Fashion Editorial

Outdoor on-the-go DIY style editorials are really picking up in the fashion world. It is a good skill to have in your toolkit as a budding photographer. In this article, I want to break down how a small team of talented artists and myself went about producing and shooting two full on-location, outdoor editorials for Bullett Magazine in less than two weeks in NYC.

Beauty in Simplicity: Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís

Sometimes we photographers get caught up in things that we think will help our work: the latest camera, more powerful lighting, lighter tripods, etc. It’s easy to forget that keeping it simple and getting an idea executed properly is the most important part of what we do.

Natural Light Versus Off-Camera Flash for Portraits: Which Is Better?

There are several debates over which type of lighting is better between natural light and off-camera flash lighting. Some photographers build their style on one over the other, while some find themselves using both. I believe that it comes down to your personal preference in which you like over the other.

The Three Elements of Every Photograph

Today, I’d like to talk about three key elements that I feel make up each and every photograph we take. Of course they are not the only elements, but I feel that they are the most important. Specific shoots, like fashion or automotive commercials, require all sorts of preparation and specific skills. However, at the photographic level, three key elements still apply. If you consider your composition, light, and moment, you will be well on your way to making a successful photograph.

Using Low Key For Large Wall Art Sales

In the boudoir industry it is a main priority to help the client feel confident and empowered. Some clients prefer the high-key fashion look associated with strobe work and solid backdrops. For those clients who prefer the anonymous images, Chris Nelson guides you through how low key images highlighting just the curves while shadowing the mood can help your clients make the decision for that large fine art wall piece.

How I Shot and Edited This Solar Eclipse Photo Using Only My Phone

Who out there captured the eclipse this week? Did you plan ahead, travel hundreds of miles, purchase the right gear, and capture the phenomenon that is a total solar eclipse for that perfect shot? The photos are coming in by the thousands and each seems to be better than the last. Here is my photo capturing 90 percent coverage of the moon over the sun and also a little behind-the-scenes on how I shot and edited it completely with my phone.

How a National Park Changed the Way I Shoot: Lessons From Yellowstone (Part 1)

It's been several years since I first had the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park, but I can honestly say that it was an incredible experience throughout and I can't wait to go back. The trip to the national park was honestly a game-changing experience for me and how I approach my own landscape photography. I learned so much on that trip, not necessarily about my gear, but about what to shoot and how to capture it in a way that would help me really remember what it was like to see things in person.

The Art of Photography as Therapy for Your Clients

Photography is not only a creative outlet for the photographer, but it also can provide healing to your clients. Most boudoir sessions are sought after in order to gain confidence, many family sessions are there to capture generations for preservation, and even underwater sessions can provide a healing to clients who are in need of the surreal emotions that come with being submerged.

What Happens When Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel, and Jessica Kobeissi Photograph the Same Model

It’s already the fourth time Jessica Kobeissi got together with three other photographers to challenge themselves on a shoot. Each artist is given the opportunity to choose the outfit and location for one set, and then everyone has to come up with something in their own style. For this episode, the photographers were Joey L, Brandon Woelfel, Dani Diamond, and Jessica Kobeissi. Each having a very different photographic style, the video is quite entertaining.

Photographers Rejoice, Winter Is Coming

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, so goes the idiom.They can recall memories so profound; the song on the radio, the light in the room, or the laughter that surrounded you.They can make you feel the joy that was in your heart all over again in an instant. If I close my eyes, I can transport to the very spot where I felt truly alive. I can recall the smile spread across my face when I took a moment to look at the image I had just captured. I’m enthralled with my memories and photos as much as I was the day I was there. As I gazed down Tunnel View at Yosemite National Park, I truly found my paradise.

Shoot All Day Long: Techniques to Improve Daylight Photography

Golden hour. That time of the day where the warm sunlight makes every shot look like a magazine cover or a movie poster. It would be great if that light could last all day long. Yeah, well a lot of things would be great but not likely to happen. Location fashion and lifestyle photographers have to be able to manipulate daylight in a variety of ways in order to have a productive shoot that lasts more than an hour. Using the techniques of shade, diffusion, reflection, and strobe photographers can work with and against natural sunlight to create beautiful images all day long.

My First Shoot With the Fujifilm X-T2: A Tale of Love at First Click

A couple of months ago, I finally pulled the trigger; I broke out my wallet and dropped a (rather large) chunk of change on my first mirrorless camera kit, the Fujifilm X-T2. I had been researching mirrorless options for almost a year, and finally landed there for a multitude of reasons. I was mainly interested in a mirrorless kit for use while traveling and backpacking, and loved the idea of a smaller, lighter kit. All signs started pointing at the X-T2 over the other long-term contender, the Olympus OM-D EM-1 MK II. It was only a couple of weeks before I headed off to spend a month in India and Nepal, so I needed to learn this camera relatively quickly.

Try Laying in the Dirt for Your Next Outdoor Session

You've probably seen some pretty comical behind-the-scenes images of the kinds of positions photographers put themselves in just to get a shot. They climb trees, hang off cliffs, stand in the middle of rivers, lay down in the dirt, all just to frame up that perfect shot. Well there's almost always a reason behind the madness and sometimes those reasons end up having a much bigger impact than most people might expect. Sometimes it's about getting a really intriguing angle on a particular subject, but I find myself laying in the dirt quite a lot just so I can create a composition that carries more depth. Let's compare a couple different shots that can help make some sense of this.

Tips for Self-Producing Your Own Shoot

I met a new contact on a job recently that encouraged me to delve deeper into the world of lifestyle imagery when thinking about my next shoot. She explained that over the years in between paid gigs, she would self-produce and fund her own micro shoots to use as portfolio material, but more importantly, as stock imagery to be sold. Over time, she has amassed an impressive collection of stock imagery that continually pays her royalties and is an excellent source of continuous revenue when work is slow.

Creative Ways to Light Boudoir Clients

In today's somewhat over saturated market of boudoir photography, everyone is looking to shoot something new and unique. It can be difficult to find a new perspective on shooting when so many ways have already been discovered. So how can you get creative and grasp the attention of the viewers without reinventing the wheel?

How BBC Films Animals At Night

The animal kingdom does most of its activities at dawn or at dusk, and many only hunt when they can hide in the darkness that the nighttime brings. This video showcases how BBC went about capturing the animals using artificial light at first, and how they do it now using infra-red and thermal cameras.

How to Prepare for Coaching During a Couples Boudoir Session

Across the board boudoir photographers have seen an increase in the number of inquiries for couples boudoir sessions. While boudoir photographer was generally more known as a more intimate session for a female to either reconnect with her own sensual side, or perhaps to give as a gift to a significant other, the trend is now becoming for these couples to capture these moments together. So how do you coach and pose for emotions during a session if the inquires start to roll in?

How to Develop a Style and Trust For Your Implied Nude Clients

When it comes to shooting implied nudes, it is not as easy as simply stripping down as one might think. Soft posing, flattering light, and the trust from client to photographer is essential to capture that perfect look. Having a solid portfolio of this genre is essential to bring in new potential clients who can form a bond with your work. So how does one start out shooting implied looks if you do not already have a portfolio to show potential clients?

Planning and Executing Impromptu Location Portraits

I recently travelled to the local racetrack with my brother for an open track day and decided that while he was out riding, I would try to make a few portraits of the other attending riders. I spent plenty of time ahead of the trip planning lighting, gear, locations, and more. This is a step by step walkthrough of how I created this series of portraits.

Five Tips to Make Your Next Sunset Photoshoot Amazing

Spring has arrived, which means the time for gorgeous golden hour shoots in wonderful weather is nearly upon us. Sunset (and sunrise) are indisputably the most consistent crafters of amazing natural light for portraiture. The warm soft glow of the sun as it falls towards the horizon not only creates fantastic atmosphere but also some of the most flattering light that can be found. For portrait photographers the golden hour as the sun rises or sets is the perfect time to shoot.

There Is Nothing Like Photographing a Sunrise [Part 3]

The third and final sunrise in this series was by far the easiest to pull off and the most successful. Once again our setting is on a family vacation, except this time it featured Grandparents. Close your eyes (after the sentence of course) and imagine yourself alone about to enjoy a sunrise all to yourself on a beautiful beach in Cape Cod, MA.

How to Give and Receive Constructive Criticism the Right Way

Constructive Criticism is a unicorn in online photography groups; much sought after, but rarely found. Good constructive criticism, or CC as it's often referred to, can be some of the most helpful and growth inducing feedback a photographer can receive but, in the wrong hands, it can be a sword that cuts confidence to ribbons. Here is how to give, and receive, CC in a way that wont destroy your soul.

Creating a More Natural Looking Light With Flash

There’s no phrase I dislike more in the photo world than "I’m a natural light photographer." Believe me, I love natural light more than anything. It’s simple and easy to work with, and you don’t need to worry about bringing a ton of gear with you. But very rarely will just unmodified natural light work. It’s the unfortunate truth of photography (unless you’re a landscape photographer, you lucky bastards). Most photographers will use a flash to do what natural light can’t. Sadly, many don’t use it to great effect. If you want your portraits, or any image with mixed lighting to look better, there are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re on location.

Dr. Ockenfels: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sun

We live in a world constantly fascinated by technology. We want the TV with the greatest definition. We want the tablet with the shiniest screen. And, as photographers, we always want the most expensive gear and the most elaborate new toys. But the more you grow as an artist, you'll quickly realize it's the man that makes the equipment, not the equipment that makes the man (or woman).

There Is Nothing Like Photographing a Sunrise [Part 1]

One of my goals as I started taking photography more and more seriously was to shoot a sunrise. Although it seems easy enough to just "get up early and bring a camera," I've found more often than not if you aren't prepped, you'll sleep in. Join me in a walk through three of my successful sunrise shots!

Don't Be Scared of Hard, Directional Sunlight - Use It

The most important tool in any photographer’s arsenal is their ability to use and manipulate light. However all too often many photographers either shy away from, or completely rule out using hard light and it may be hindering not only their flexibility but also their creativity. What if you could shoot in direct sunlight and love it?

Five Tips for Shooting Black and White Landscapes

The next six months is prime time for shooting black and white landscapes, especially on those gloomy days which can add drama and "wow factor" to your images. I have some compelling reasons why I think you should consider converting from color to black and white.

'Planet Earth II' Is BBC's Most Cinematic Series Yet, Here's How

How did technology make "Planet Earth" so much more cinematic? If we go back to how it was done back in the day and compare it to the technology we have today, it's quite a leap. Back in the day 35mm was the broadcast standard. The 35mm cameras were bulky and heavy, they were perfect for studio and not for the shots that they needed. In the filming circles and the BBC insiders saw 16mm film as being for amateurs. But, thanks to David Attenborough first taking his 16mm camera out to shoot abroad and coming back with footage of animals never filmed before, it changed opinions. This made the program that later became one of the best wildlife documentaries of all time.

Step Up Your Landscape Photography Using Tiffen's Pro100 Series Filter System

The more you photograph people, places, and things, the more you understand how much control the available light has over the outcome of your image. Taking advantage of tools like filters to limit or modify the light coming into your camera is a great way to craft a unique image and even add a dramatic flare that you may not be able to create otherwise.

Endless Shades of White Through the Lens of Yulia Taits

Three years ago Yulia Taits fell in love with the process of conceptual photography. The hard work of planning, searching for the perfect location, and matching styles to create something beautiful and magical fascinated her. Yulia was hypnotized by the pure and almost fairy tale beauty of people having Albinism since she remembers herself. Yulia always knew that she will make a project dedicated to them one day.

golden retriever sitting on log

Many photographers who are beginning to dabble in pet photography ask about the best lens to use when photographing pets. While there is no right or wrong answer, as a dog photographer who primarily specializes in outdoor sessions, I use a telephoto lens for the majority of photos I take. If I were limited to just a single focal length to use for photographing dogs, I’d go with 200mm, and there are several reasons for this decision.

How Your Smartphone Can Benefit Your Photography

I never really used to take photos on my phone; in fact, I used to be really against it because I never thought the camera was good enough to capture what I wanted. Of course, it's great to always have a camera on you so you can take a photo, which makes the smartphone one of the best tools around. With today's technology, these cameras just keep getting better, and I am finally beginning to use my phone's camera just to work on my composition and angles when I see something of interest.

Breaking Down Your Scenes Into Zones for Color Correction on Video

With the advancement and affordability of video technology available to consumers now, the number of budding and aspiring film and video makers has seemingly raised exponentially. One of those advancements has most definitely been in regards to how the color correction process is handled. There's certainly no one path to success sort of idea with this either, but there are some things that you can do to help simplify and organize your process in order to work quicker and more efficiently.

Why Purchasing a Neutral Density Filter Holder Set is Your Better Option

Earlier this year, Patrick Hall did a thorough comparison of a variety of neutral density filter brands. The test included findings on color cast, vignetting, exposure, and sharpness. The goal was to find the best and most cost efficient neutral density filter available. In an effort to dig a little deeper into the question which filter is best for your gear set, I decided to add on a test of a similar product that photographers may prefer, filter holder sets.

How Photographing Skylines Made Me a Better Photographer

Photographing skylines and cityscapes takes a lot of technical ability, both in knowing what gear to bring and how to capture a variety of lighting conditions. Many photographers have made careers out of perfecting this genre, taking it even further by mixing in astrophotography, light painting, and even motion. Whether you're looking to explore your own backyard or get more out of traveling, shooting skylines can open your eyes to new possibilities no matter what type of photography you shoot.

Setting Up an Outdoor Photography Studio on a Small Budget

For a long time as a photographer, I did not have access to a studio nor did I have the necessary lights to help create a studio setup indoors. And let’s not talk about renting studios! So, in absence of a studio, I came up with one easy way to create the studio feel, which you will find is pretty cheap.

Window Light: The Biggest, Bestest Softbox You Already Own

This article will probably seem like a giant “duh” to a lot of you out there. Hell, even most avid selfie-shooters have figured this out. This is geared more towards the photographers who lust after huge, expensive light modifiers and overlook the amazing light source that is probably staring them in face. I suggest you start staring back!

How to Manage a Client's Expectations Before and During a Photoshoot

It is a common expectation that when clients hire you, it is because they like your style and think you will help project their brand’s identity. But what do you do when, despite previous exchanges, on the shooting day, you realize that your clients have entirely different expectations. Do you just change everything to adapt to their needs or do you say no?

A Time-lapse Cinemagraph Made With 12 Images

This Cinemagraph time-lapse was made using only 12 JPEG images. The software allows photographers to create motion within a static photograph. You need to upload each image to the website, and then you design the movement within each image. Once you get a moving image "flowing" you can render it out and import it into Adobe Premiere Pro to create the final time-lapse.

Thinking About Shooting Your First Short Film? This Is How I Did It

I shot and edited a narrative film in the last month. It was a first for me. I had this scene in my mind of a person burying a suitcase or bag in the woods, like it’s something he or she wanted to hide or get away from. I had a second idea about a guy walking down a long passage way and knocking on a door with no one opening for him. I decided these two contrasting visual ideas will be my story.

Working with Candlelight in Cinema - True Practical Lighting

Even though technology has come a long way, you have to have some kind of lighting in order to film. Generally, cinematographers bring in giant ARRI lights to help make a scene look realistic, but for the BBC TV series "Wolf Hall," they opted for a more natural approach. Cooke Optics TV sat down with cinematographer Gavin Finney to talk about how he used candlelight as the only source of light during nighttime scenes.

Tips on Boudoir Photography for the Minimalists

Over the years as a boudoir photographer, I have noticed a theme when it comes to new shooters about the "restrictions" they come across. Countless times I hear or read, "I wish I could upgrade my gear," "I just do not have a commercial space," or my favorite, "I just cannot afford to have all those set ups." Well quite frankly, that is a load of bull.

'Patience' - The Power and Versatility of Time-lapse in One Video

Time-lapse videos are everywhere nowadays. You can see them in everything from Hollywood blockbusters, to educational documentaries, to that one weird guy's YouTube channel showing the most random things in a time-lapse format. Well done time-lapses should definitely be appreciated as, make no mistake, they are works of art in their own right.

Staci Renee in Miami Retouch Challenge Results

It's been a long time coming, but today's episode of my weekly web series, The Backyard, finds my co-host Staci and myself reviewing our three favorite edits from (what I dubbed) the Dani Diamond Experiment, posted almost two months ago. I allowed you all to download a raw file I shot of Staci in Miami and let you loose on it to retouch it as you saw fit. The results? Let's take a look.

My Gear and How I Use It to Affect Emotion

Photography is a game of emotions. Think about some of the most powerful images that you’ve ever seen. The ones that have left a lasting impression on you. Sure, they might have gorgeous tones, light, or composition, but the reason they have stuck with you for so long is probably the emotion or mood that the image evokes. Our job as a photographer is to control those moods and to decide which emotion we want our viewer to feel.