Have you ever had to shoot at a location that didn't warrant you lugging your big case of lighting around? In this very inspiring behind the scenes video, see how Alexis Cuarezma maximizes the potential of direct natural sunlight to create flattering results every time without the use of any additional lights.
In this lighting breakdown from San Francisco-based advertising and commercial portrait photographer Alexis Cuarezma, he breaks down his methodical and versatile approach to filming or photographing people in direct, harsh sunlight. The catch is that he doesn't set up any lights or strobes. By utilizing a layer of diffusion material and a couple of bounce cards, he is able to get flattering and professional results in any situation.
To simplify the equation, Cuarezma breaks his process down into three simple steps:
- The first step is to set up your composition and frame your shot prior to positioning the diffusion or bounce cards.
- After you have framed your shot, the second step is to diffuse or block the direct sunlight or simply find a shaded area.
- The final step is to add a reflector or set of bounce cards.
In this behind the scenes image from the video, you can see he's shooting directly into the sun, which gives him separation from the background. By diffusing the light, it makes it more flattering and soft. Then, to act as a soft yet directional key light, the reflectors on either side kick back the light and reflect it directly back on his face. With this combination, it produces a layered lighting effect, which I use on nearly every shoot I do.
If you enjoyed this tutorial, be sure to check out his YouTube channel and be on the lookout for new and informative videos every week.