Mastering natural light can take a lifetime of practice, but there is one type of natural light that will produce amazing results in almost any situation: I call it "cave lighting."
Cave lighting is produced when your subject is in a dark "cave," looking out towards the bright entrance of the cave. This will produce soft light that is bright on the tip of the nose, cheeks, and forehead, while creating beautiful shadows along the sides of the face and body. Luckily, you don't need a literal cave to pull this off; you simply need to block the light from hitting your subject from above and from the sides.
The absolute easiest way to pull this lighting off is to put your subject in a dark exterior doorway. Make sure that it's dark inside your doorframe so that the only lighting hitting your subject is coming from outside, directly in front of them. Ideally, you don't want direct sunlight hitting your subject. You'll get the best results from the soft light of a bright or cloudy sky.
Once you become accustomed to this style of lighting, you'll start noticing opportunities to use it out on location or in nature. Simply find a location to place your subject where they are being lit from the front while the light is blocked above and on either side of them. I do this most often when I'm shooting with tree cover: I simply move my subject to the edge of the woods.
To pull this off in the studio, you can simply put a large softbox directly above your camera with some sort of fill below. If your studio space is small, you may need to add some sort of negative fill (black cards or fabric) to keep the light from bouncing around the room and hitting the sides of your subject.
In many cases, I prefer lighting men a little differently than women, but with this manner of lighting, I think it works well for all subjects. It's soft, classic lighting that will never go out of style.
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