Simple ways to make the most of natural light
In this section we take a look at how you can make the most of natural light on any given occasion.
For large subjects such as landscapes or buildings it’s not feasible to control the light, so you will be at Mother Nature’s mercy.
However, you can choose the direction of the light by your viewpoint, and with a little planning you have some control over the quality of light by shooting at different times of day or in varying weather.
The classic time to shoot scenic images is during the golden hour. This is the hour after sunrise and before sunset when the sun is low in the sky, giving strong side lighting on the landscape to reveal texture and shape.
When the sun is low in the skyyou will find that the colour temperature is lower, giving your shots a warmer look.
Shoot into the light
One of the most dramatic and striking lighting effects is when you shoot into the light. This technique – also known as contre jour or backlighting – gives your images a totally different look to shooting with the light in front of the subject.
With the light behind the subject you can get two completely different ‘looks’ by altering the exposure. By exposing for the background the subject will be dark, producing a silhouette, while exposing for the subject will over-expose the background, giving a much brighter, high-key effect.
When you’re shooting into the light you should always avoid looking directly at the sun, so try composing using Live View, rather than the optical viewfinder.
You’ve probably seen the ‘perfect’ sunset, even if only from your house or car window, but how many times have you seen it when you’ve been out with your camera?
If the answer is many then you’re either extremely lucky, or more likely you spend too much time checking the weather forecast!
But knowing what conditions to look for, and the timing and position of the sun during the day, is the key to getting the most from natural light.
PAGE 1: Understanding the character of light
PAGE 2: How to control your photography lighting
PAGE 3: Taking control of the light
PAGE 4: Use a reflector to fill in the shadows
PAGE 5: Using fill-in flash
PAGE 6: Making the most of natural light
PAGE 7: Predicting the natural light
PAGE 8: Shoot in the direction of light
PAGE 9 Exposing in low light
PAGE 10: Shooting in twilight vs complete darkness
PAGE 11: How to shoot handheld in low light
PAGE 12: Why you might want to use flash
PAGE 13: Soften the light from your flash
PAGE 14: How to use flash triggers