by John Denton Published 01/08/2014
There is never enough hard sunshine in this country to justify heavy investment in scrims. Essentially they are a sheet of silk on a frame that you can position between the sun and your subject to create instant, open shade, wherever you are.
To look at a few different scenarios for working with natural light I'll use some images from a test shoot I did recently with a fantastic new model, Jodie. It was a red-hot day with bright sunlight which made a pleasant change. On overcast days we may have soft light but it lacks crispness. On a sunny day you can get some beautifully intense light both in full sun and shade.
That was demonstrated by these first headshots of Jodie. My studio is on a farm and so I have a range of locations to play in. It was around 10:30 in the morning and so the sun was still on the eastern side of the farm. I went over to the other side of the site where there is a shed with a large open doorway which faces west. The sun was pouring over the top of the shed and hitting the ground in front of it. The ground here is composed of loose stone chippings and mud which gives a nice warm tone to the reflected light. I sat Jodie on a stool in the doorway so the light was even across her features. A silver reflector was placed on the floor at her feet to lift any shadows and give a flat beauty light across her features. A 70-200mm lens at f2.8 was used to pull everything together and give a lovely diffusion on the background. The interior of the shed was much darker than the doorway so it rendered virtually black on its own.
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