Basics to Lighting a Subject & Mistakes to Avoid
When choosing a location take note of the light that already exists in the location (ambient light). Naturally lit areas with adjustable lighting (ie: shades and curtains) are best.
- Mobile camera sensors LOVE natural light
- If there is too much, or uneven light in a setting shutting a shade or curtain can make a world of difference.
- Think of the "magic hour lighting" or the time at sunset when everyone wants to head down to the beach and take photos - THIS is great lighting
PRIMARY LIGHT SOURCE
Your primary light source should be used to light your subject's face, not light them from behind.
- Windows are great for natural lighting, but planning to shoot your subject with the NYC skyline behind them will result in the subject being backlit.
- Natural light looks beautiful but can be variable & give you less control: If relying on natural light know that the sun going behind a cloud can affect the shot composition
- Consider the time of day or the weather outside, when is the light coming in the brightest, and when is it the most manageable?
Setting a shot up with the light source behind your subject can result one of two ways (photos below), and neither one is a good option. Instead opt to have your subject turn around and let the natural light from the window light their face.
SHADOWS BEHIND SUBJECT
If you are seeing shadows on the wall behind your subject, you can reduce shadows by moving your subject further away from the wall behind them.