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Mastering Natural Light Photography for Consistent Results

Many photographers often turn to natural light to capture stunning images. In this post, we'll delve into the effectiveness of sunlight as a light source, exploring its nuances for a more general photographer audience.


Firstly, let me clarify that I'm not opposed to using natural light for photography; in fact, it can yield fantastic results when handled correctly. However, harnessing natural light effectively is more challenging than it may seem, primarily due to its constant fluctuations influenced by weather conditions and the sun's position in the sky.



The images above illustrate the dynamic changes in light throughout the day. I set up this experiment in my studio, strategically positioned next to a large west-facing window. I snapped a photo every hour without altering any settings, showcasing the sole variable—light from the window.


Observe how the images taken earlier in the day appear darker than those captured later on. This discrepancy arises because, in the morning, the sun wasn't shining directly through the west-facing window. As the sun traversed the sky, more light streamed through the window, culminating in a brighter image by 5 pm.


Upon analyzing these photos, it becomes evident that the 3 pm shot boasts the most favorable lighting.


One might assume shooting at 3 pm daily guarantees optimal light, but it's essential to recognize that it's not just the sun's position that changes; the weather plays a crucial role too.


Consider the photo taken at 3pm on one day and compare it to another taken at the same time the following day.






The second-day photo appears noticeably darker. Why? Weather conditions. The first day featured a bright, sunny sky, while the second day was overcast, with clouds obstructing most of the sunlight, resulting in a darker image.


Continuing this experiment over several days would yield a diverse array of photos, with variations influenced not only by the weather but also by the evolving seasons. In summer, the sun rises earlier, sets later, and reaches a higher point in the sky, resulting in distinctly different lighting compared to winter.


When opting for natural light in your photography, bear in mind that achieving a consistent look across all your images can be challenging. No matter what genre of photography you are shooting, if you are using natural light you will always have the challenge of the light changing from minute to minute.


If the prospect of mastering natural light for consistent results concerns you, feel free to send me a message and we can have a chat.

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