4 Dramatic Effects with Natural Direct Lighting

Producing natural lighting direct on your photographs can offer a great look if used and applied correctly. It is also a great option, as a lot of studios operate using only natural light because of professional equipment being too expensive. Here are some great effects that you can achieve by solely using natural lighting from the sun.

1. Sky Lighting

One of the easiest ways to create a dramatically focused or a soft subtle light is to use a sky light in your studio. If you have a number of windows or doors in your studio, you can open them to great directional lighting effects based upon the time of the day. You can also use a large window or door to let the light flood in to your studio. This can also be achieved by selectively controlling the size or opening of the skylight.

You can then manipulate the incoming natural light using reflectors. Also, you may flag out the light from certain areas by using the black colored blocking cards. This effectively eliminates the need to have expensive equipment like studio strobes or hot lights.

2. Trim Lighting

This is an often-used effect to make people wearing dark clothes and accessories pop-out or stand out from a dark background. You can use foam boards to reflect and direct lighting onto the subject of interest and then play with black cards and reflectors to effectively block out the lighting from behind the subject. Arrange the angles so that only the outlines of the subject receive the unidirectional light from the sun. Fine-tune the settings to create fine edges of lighting for an enhanced dramatic effect.

3. Surreal Effects

If you are planning on creating surrealistic lighting effects, then the use natural light can come in pretty handy. Lighting conditions just before and after a storm are idealistic for pictures and portraits with a dark and gloomy emotion. Also, you can use the dramatic lighting caused by sunrays bursting through clouds just after a heavy shower. One of the best places to exploit such effects is the inside of a cathedral. This is because the windows of a cathedral tend to play with the natural lighting in many unpredictable ways and create a ton of dramatic effects for you to make use of.

4. Low Light Effects

The sunrise and sunset times are among the most conducive to create low lighting effects required for some very dramatic photographs. These can include silhouettes, dynamic lighting and naturally red photographs. The lighting coming in at an extremely low angle creates great dramatic effects for larger-than-life pictures. It is advisable to head towards the nearest landscape at late evenings or at the crack of dawn to exploit these lighting conditions.

You can use the above specified techniques and tips for inducing high drama into your pictures, but beware that this tends to inject a lot of contrast in the pictures. You may want to use a spot meter to check on the exact conditions.