Recent Natural Light Articles

'Metamorphosis' Photo Project Challenges Artists

Four German body painters and photographers have teamed up to blend the human body and natural landscapes into an art project they call "Metamorphosis." Photographers Laila Pregizer and Uwe Schmida have been working with body painters Jörg Düsterwald and Léonie Gené since 2008 to integrate their subjects into various natural landscapes in all seasons. It's notable that the project does not rely on Photoshop to create the images, but rather on the skills of the artists.

'Blood Dress' Photo Shoot Grabs Attention

Canadian Photographer Melissa Trotter is getting a lot of attention with her latest foray into alternative themes. "Blood Dress" was viewed more than 1.3 million times in just 8 hours after being posted online. Inspired by a "milk dress" shoot, Trotter says she instantly fell in love with the idea of creating the same concept with blood. There are plenty of comments to go along with the provocative image. The owner of Stolen Innocence Photography, Trotter says she's been overwhelmed with the response she's gotten, pointing out most of it has been extremely positive.

Five Quick and Easy Natural Light Basics

Hey there, Ben Sasso here! Learning new things is one of my favorite parts of what I do, and I want to be able to pass that on. If you're looking for some quick and basic natural lighting tips to play with on your next shoot, you're in the right place. Check out five easy tips! Hope you enjoy!

Creating a Soft Window Light for Food Photography

Finding the best quality of light is most of our job as photographers, and a great place to start looking is window light, especially north-facing window light. This type of light creates a soft transition from light to shadow, and can be very flattering on our subjects. Sometimes, however, we need to get consistent results all day, as in the case of this menu shoot, and using a window will cause too much variation in the light.

Why Professional Gear Is Not The Most Important Element in Photography

Yes I said it. I can hear the outraged shrieks of equipment addicted photographers, but hear me out. In February, I went to Capetown for a month to please my trigger finger and shot eight stories in the same location using just natural light. South Africa is a renowned location for occidental productions. When it is snowing in Europe and in the States, it is summer season there. During that time the only weather complication can arise from wind with the upside being constant blue skies. During my stay, I got unpredictable rain and clouds. When I was done throwing tantrums at the black skies and banging my head against a wall questioning my decision of spending hard earned bucks to fly to the southern tip of Africa, I capitulated and went with the flow. And learned a lot in the process. Getting out of my comfort zone reminded me about the core of photography: my vision.

Download and Retouch a Photo Nino Batista Shot in Miami

I am calling this the "Dani Diamond Experiment", because he has done this before, and I thought the end results were fascinating. See, Dani's been known to offer a totally unedited raw file of an image he shot as a free download, asking photographers and retouchers to have a go at finalizing the shot however they see fit. Rather than specifically ask anyone to retouch the image in any particular style or use any particular workflow, the idea is to simply offer the raw file with no instructions beyond "Edit it!" and see what happens.

Photographing a Concert With the Nikon D5

Canon and Nikon have always had their single digit models at the top level of performance. From the original D1, bringing a professional digital camera to the world that didn’t require a separate backpack for a processor, to the D3, Nikon’s first ever full-frame body, this series of cameras has pushed the envelope of what a camera can do. The Nikon D5 not only pushed the boundary, it has demolished any previous limitation that I have found in a camera.

How Ansel Adams Captured Images as He Saw Them

In this video essay, Evan Puschak aka The Nerdwriter explains some of the techniques Ansel Adams used to achieve his technical and esthetic mastery. Using visualization and some other relatively easy to learn techniques, Adams learned to bring what he saw in his mind's eye to his photographs (yes, I said "easy to learn," but hard to master). It was Adams' commitment to taking photographs, with intent, that made him a master artist and led him to develop the tools he needed to bring his images to fruition.​

Pushing the Sony A7RII's Dynamic Range Using Capture One, Photoshop and Luminosity Masks

Recently, during my annual trek to Las Vegas for WPPI (wherein I arrive in the city of sin and proceed to actively avoid going to the actual expo because I book too many other things), I found myself in the deserts outside of Vegas with a Sony A7RII, a few bits of glorious Zeiss glass, no modifiers or lighting of any kind, and Renee Robyn as my model. Welp, guess it was time to see what Sony's dynamic range claims were truly about then.

street photography hong kong pen-f

Let me tell you: there’s nothing quite like a new camera and a change of scenery to recharge the old creative batteries, especially after a long British winter. I just came back last Sunday from a fantastic three-week trip to Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand and therefore, had plenty of time to intensively test the new Pen-F by Olympus, which I've had since mid-February.

Shooting at Sunset: How to Balance Ambient Light With Strobes

Commercial Photographer and Videographer Jay P. Morgan has spent the last 25-plus years mastering light, production, and the business end of photography. He shares most of his insights on The Slanted Lens, his site dedicated to providing step-by-step instruction on how to light for photography and video. His latest video finds him in Gettysburg, combining strobes with ambient light, featuring Honest Abe and a couple of sweet cannons, while he shows us how to light a scene during sunset.

Photographing Hong Kong With Elia Locardi / Behind The Scenes Episode 13 and 14

Our second tutorial with Elia Locardi: Photographing the World: Cityscape, Astrophotography, and Advanced Post-Processing was all about different types of cities. We started in Cinque Terre, a region of Italy where cities are basically built into the side of a natural landscape. We then moved on to Rome to shoot ancient architecture. Next we moved on to Singapore and Hong Kong for something a little bit more modern.

Street Photography: Wandering While Observing Both City and Society

Some of my best street photography was shot while wandering the city with no apparent aim. Street photography is a genre in which you have little to no control of what your subject does, the light you’re working with, or the setting. You cannot force anything, and you cannot stage life in the streets or predict what’s about to happen before your very eyes. You’re just there, observant and ready to shoot. Here’s how I do it.

Out Of My Element: The First Time I Ever Shot In Snow

Despite having grown up around photography all my life (thanks, dad) and then starting my own commercial portrait business in 2009, there is one small little thing I'd never done before, silly as it sounds. I have never, ever shot in snow. Born in the Caribbean in 1975, then briefly living in Miami before settling down in Houston in 1979, I have truly never experienced real snow. But all that changed for me recently in Salt Lake City and Albuquerque - in January.

Understanding Light: Large Light Sources and How To Use Them

I’ve always been a fan of big lights. There are certainly situations where they aren’t appropriate, but a lot of my work is centered around big, soft light. What has always drawn me to large sources of light is their versatility. Almost every subject looks good with soft light. Because large light sources cause such soft gradation in the shadows, they can be useful for both younger subjects with smoother skin, or even older subjects that may have wrinkled and scarred skin. However, there is one thing that should be cleared up: the definition of a large light source.

How to Interpret Light and Why It Is Paramount to a Photographer's Success

Regardless of what genre of photography you shoot, understanding light and its characteristics is key to creating better photos. For those of us working with off-camera flash, there is another layer to the complexity: balancing ambient and artificial light. On top of that there are various modifiers that can be used for artificial lighting to replicate or create certain effects. A great way to become proficient in understanding and seeing light is to examine photographs by other photographers in your genre.

Behind The Scenes: How I Got Published

As a photographer and an artist, one of the most rewarding accomplishments you’ll have is when you see your work featured in some type of way, whether it is in a magazine, an art gallery, an advertisement, etc. In this piece, I will take you behind the scenes of the exciting and riveting experience of a fashion editorial, from the preparation, to the actual shoot, post-processing, and beyond.

Quick and Basic Outdoor Lighting Tips in The Backyard

There may be a dozen ways to skin the proverbial outdoor lighting cat (sorry for that, felines), but it never hurts to review some of the most common basics. Some of my favorite approaches outdoors start with pure natural light with some simple modifications, leaving the strobes or speedlites at the ready only when they are absolutely needed or desired. After all, natty light should look natural, no?

2015 TIME Magazine's Instagram Photographer of The Year

An annual award that TIME magazine started three years ago has chosen it's official 2015 winner. Stacy Kranitz is an Instagram photographer who is most famous for her work in the Appalachia area. The poverty stricken, drug and alcohol filled area is certainly an eye opening subject. But why her in particular?

3 Basic Editing Tips with Before and After Images

Ever since the middle of high school, I've been immensely interested in "the process." You know, that middle bit between point A and point B that nobody but the artist ever sees. I've always loved peeking behind the scenes to see where something started and what kind of work and thought went into creating the finished product. To satisfy those of you who are just like me, here's the second post in my before/after series which not only shows you my images straight out of camera and the final product, but which uses each image to explain a bit more about what I do in post. If you want to dig in way further than these, I cover every step of my post processing in my Editing + Consistency class. Enjoy, friends!

Behind the Scenes on 'Scenic Silhouettes' as Photographer Miles Holden Goes Back to the Basics

New Zealand Photographer Miles Holden has plenty of options when it comes to diverse landscapes at his disposal. In this series called "Scenic Silhouettes," Holden wanted to focus on a more simplistic, quieter series of images of bike riding, set against a stunning landscape. This behind-the-scenes video takes you helicopter-hopping around diverse topography of New Zealand with Holden during his project.

Photographer Captures People's Reactions When Told They Are Beautiful

What's your response when you're told that you're beautiful? Eighteen year-old photographer and student, Shea Glover, decided to "film what I thought was beautiful." Without intending to, she has conducted an amazing social experiment on the effect of simple positivity and a compliment. The reactions are perfect!

How to Improve Your Photography by Shooting Black and White

It is understandable that many beginners new to taking photos often get impatient when learning photography. Learning this craft is a process and involves the gradual addition of techniques that will eventually turn into second nature. We all get “the bug” and want to learn anything and everything as soon as possible, it’s natural. There are all sorts of elements that factor in to a well composed final image. The fact of the matter is, we’re all still learning new things from our experiences that we encounter.

Behind the Scenes with Photographer Craig Kolesky Shooting Skiing and Biking in the African Desert

It can be a real creative challenge to try and concept, as well as execute, something that has never been done before, especially in photography. Adventure photographer Craig Kolesky accepted that challenge and ended up in the desert of Namibia, with two unlikely athletes for such a location. I asked Craig a few questions about this project that he shot for Red Bull Photography.

Why the Key Ingredient of a Successful Photographer Is a Recognizable Style

There are a zillion photographers out there, but there aren’t a zillion clients. How do you make your work stand out? Success comes when a client will book you because it's you and not because you are just another good photographer. In the process, having a recognizable style might also make you a happier photographer. But how can you get there?

A Complete Guide to Retouching Portraits in Photoshop for Free

There is an innumerable amount of articles and tutorials teaching parts and pieces of retouching portraits. However, finding the ones with quality techniques and information can take days. Furthermore, there is no singular tutorial that teaches a complete set of methods to retouch portraits free of charge. Finding the right tutorials for each aspect of editing can become very time consuming. This article contains 5 years of research for achieving the greatest methods to retouch a portrait.

Indoor Natural Light: Learn the Basics

Hey, friends! I recently shot in a natural light studio and thought I would share some tips on indoor natural light for those of you who are interested. Enjoy!

Why is Renowned Playboy Photographer Jarmo Pohjaniemi Using a Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L?

While there are obviously no strict rules about what lenses a photographer should buy, my curiosity was piqued recently, when legendary Glamour Photographer Jarmo Pohjaniemi (Playboy, Shoot The Centerfold) announced he was headed to Santorini with a pair of Canon EF 11-24 f/4L USM lenses. I assumed he was going to shoot landscapes (after all, it’s Santorini), but his answers when I asked were far more interesting than that.

Here's Why You Need Photoshop's Pen Tool in Automotive Retouching

First off, some Fstoppers readers who follow my articles may be confused right now because I am posting an automotive retouching tutorial. For those who don't know, I used to do quite a lot of automotive photography work from 2011-2013 or so, and these days I still take the occasional car job here and there. But what I was so grateful for in 2011, when I started in this direction of editing, was that I was already very familiar and comfortable with Photoshop's pen tool - the ultimate weapon in automotive retouching (and more).

Critique the Community Episode 10b: Natural Light Portraits

Due to the incredible amount of submissions, we decided to film a second edition of Natural Light Portraits! This time, Lee and I sat down in the Fstoppers studio and critiqued an additional 20 Natural Light Portraits. Check out the pictures we selected and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments!

Critique the Community Episode 10a - Natural Light Portraits with Dani Diamond

A couple weeks ago, we asked the community to submit their natural light portraits to be critiqued. We had an overwhelming number of over 300 images submitted for feedback and thus will be breaking up this critique into two episodes of 20 images each. For the first episode, we had the honor of having Dani Diamond, a fantastic natural light photographer in New York, help us critique a range of 20 images. Check out the selection of pictures below and add your thoughts to the comments!

Canon's New Ultra-Sensitive Camera Shows Incredible Video of the Milky Way and an Awesome Glowworm Cave

The ME20F-SH is Canon's latest, crazy-high ISO camera, able to record clean video at over ISO 4 million (not a typo). Early footage was lackluster in content, and early media stated the natural security-field uses for such a camera. But the latest video suggests the ME20F-SH could be used to shoot incredibly beautiful footage of our world that wouldn't have been able to be captured the same way in the past.

Critique the Community: Submit Your Natural Light Portraits Now

Our next episode of "Critique the Community" will feature natural light portraits. Use this awesome featured image by Dani Diamond as inspiration for your submission. While images which include the use of reflectors are acceptable, please do not include any shots that include extra light (flash or continuous) added by the photographer. Please get in your submissions by Sunday, October 18th and you'll have the chance to have your image critiqued by the Fstoppers team. For this episode, we will be giving feedback to 20 pictures. To qualify, you must follow the submission rules below.

Creative Sunset Selfies Made From Cardboard Silhouettes

Nine-time Emmy award-winning TV producer and writer John Marshall found himself on Maine's Frye Island with too much time, talent and imagination. The result photo series, which he calls Sunset Selfies, is creative, whimsical and inspiring. I'd be ridiculously surprised if this doesn't spawn a whole slew of creative projects within our community, as enthusiastic shooters start cutting out their own cardboard silhouette to use during magic hour.

What You Can Create With A Single Strobe

As someone who prefers to shoot using natural light, I have realized that sometimes, a photo begs for artificial lighting. For years, I struggled with how many strobes to use and where to place them. I lost patience and focused instead on natural light. By spending the time to learn how lighting actually works, I eventually gained a better understanding of how to use strobes. In this article, I hope to share with you how to use just one strobe to create jaw-dropping results.

Why Are You Afraid of the Sun?

It seems that a lot of photographers tend to avoid direct sunlight and for a long time, I did too. Occasionally, I would backlight subjects, but I would never dare light them directly with the sun. I decided one day that it was time to embrace the sun. In this article, I break down my methods for achieving a good photograph in direct sunlight, discussing what has helped me and what you should avoid.

Top Tips for Taking Portraits

As a self-taught photographer, I’m an advocate of learning through doing. I didn’t study it, but I can imagine that reading all the Photography 101 books that are available still wouldn't prepare you for actually being on a set, with a model standing in front of you, and a team awaiting your creative direction. In my journey, experience has meant everything. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the years that may help when shooting your own portraits.

Photographer Gets Creative, Turns Coconut Into Camera

Nope, we're not joking. Photographer Kotama Bouabane is creating photographs using coconuts. While he used the fruit in several different ways to create images, his most interesting method simply involves tape, a coconut, and some photo paper! Read on and check out the video for more!

20 Photographers are Given the Same Portrait to Edit, Check Out the Results

As we all know, the human experience is unique. Your life and your opinions will never be the same as any other persons. This is why there is a subjectivity to art. When viewing and creating art, there will not be two artists who imagine the same piece. Since photography and retouching are both art forms, it would be plausible that the same applies.

Go Behind The Scenes With Photographer Dave Hill Shooting For Scion

Dave Hill has become known for his amazing, over the top compositing work, but last year Scion hired Dave for something very different. A large photo and video campaign that needed to be shot mostly natural light and without heavy retouching.