I am glad we went through the basics and now can get to the real stuff — what light to use and why. On purpose you will see me talking about natural and studio light in parallel. Here we go.

Soft light is the light produced by any kind of softboxes and umbrellas, windows with diffused natural light, deep shadow places during sunny or overcast sky. It’s the least scary light for beginners (no shadows = no problems), but also the one that, if used without thinking, can make your picture boring. Remember those faded pictures with no shadows, but also no real color and white-grey sky? Here’s how to avoid that:

  • In fact soft light and light without shadows are not the same. You can use the soft-box/window from the side like so to get this very painting-style light — it’s gentle to model’s skin and all shadows are very soft, but at the same time it makes your picture 3 dimensional
  • Use movement — in soft light all angles are acceptable, so you have an opportunity to really let model move instead of micromanaging her to avoid unflattering shadows
  • Include bright color to make sure your photo won’t be boring
  • When working in shadow, have the reflector or light surface hit by sun near you model’s face to give it this flowing-from-inside look

Next Chapter>>

NextUp: Questions about wether you need studio light on location