Prepare for the worst!

I haven’t talked about natural light for a while and when I started editing the pictures of this session, I thought I would share again, a few thoughts on the subject.

> How I handle Natural light / Ballerina BTS video photoshoot

So let’s get straight to the point, down below are 5 little tips, thoughts, ideas to help you before and during your photo shoot, basic things to be aware of and to look out for. I used to stress and be really nervous before a photo shoot before but I’ve learned to accept a lot of things with years and to adapt to any type of situation. So I really hope these will help you especially for all you people out there starting out.

Like the title suggests, prepare for the worst and be aware that Light might, or will Change regularly during your shoot.

1/ The intensity, the Color, the direction can change multiple times during your session. Depending on the moment of the day, your light will absolutely not be the same early in the morning, during mid-day and in the evening. So keep an eye out and learn to adapt quickly!

It may sound obvious to some, but I still meet photographers that take this for granted. Depending on the story you want to tell, the type of shoot, the mood, there is a time during the day that will suit your style and ideas better which leads me to number 2…

2/ Forget about “bad light”! You may have heard about the “magic hour”, or “the golden hour”, a lot of folks say it is the best time to shoot.

Well yes very early in the morning or during sunset the light is beautiful. Warm in the evening, soft, not too intense, the chances are if the weather is on your side you will make great pictures.

But again, like I said earlier it doesn’t fit every scenario. You can also choose to shoot in harsh hard light. if you are looking for deep dark contrasted shots and strong highlights shooting at noon can work for you.

This photo of Sandra was shot around 12 am:

3/ Make sure you analyze and look around you… how does the light behave on your subject, and your environment. Where are the shadows placed, where do you want them, and where does your light come from.

If you know what you want you will place your model correctly.

4/ Don’t guess these things, don’t be surprised by the photo you just take. Plan your shoot ahead,  create a mood board, gather ideas and example shots etc… and share this with your team if you have one, or directly with your model.  Improvisation can work if you are really experienced and if you have time. Personally, I rarely go on a shoot unprepared… even though I do improvise a lot.

5/ The last thing I think of is how am I going to post-process my pictures. What is the purpose of this session what am I going to do with these pictures.

You can choose to favor your model and blow out the sky in the background for a high key effect. Or if you know your camera, and if you shoot in raw, you can slightly underexpose your model to retain all the details you can from the sky and recover the shadows and exposure in post.

Slightly underexposed shot of Claire Aves… Exposure and shadows recovered in post!

The 2 following fitness photo shoots took place in London with 2 amazing fitness athletes. Nothing crazy, simple portraits, poses… So nothing to be worried about. Until we landed in London and looked at the weather forecast.

I had to work with what I had, wind, quick change of light when there was some and rain, but I believe we did a good job… The first session features the amazing Claire Aves and yes, we did improvise a lot except for the very first shot I took in front of the London Eye!

And on this second session we were accompanied by the wonderful Sandra Radav! We sheltered from the rain in the beginning and finished our shoot in the open. 

Shoutouts to both athletes for trusting me and for working in such conditions. 

Big thanks to Canon France for some of the great gear I had at my disposal during my stay in London.

Prepare for the worst!hazekware
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