Achieve Dynamic Portraits with Natural Light

Many of you know that I'm a sucker for taking portraits using nothing but ambient light. For those who aren't familiar with the term, "ambient light," this basically means using nothing but light from the surrounding environment. Whether this is from city and street lights, or diffused light from the sun, natural (or ambient) light results in a timeless and elegant aesthetic. However, I like to take my portraits one step further to get more dynamic and interesting images. But how? By incorporating a balance between shadows and highlights.

My last portrait session, in Tajikistan...[not really]...serves as a prime example of this. Actually shot in Lubbock, Texas, located in the West Texas Panhandle, these portraits convey a sense of mood. That moody aesthetic is mostly due to incorporating both shadows and highlights into the scene.

We shot these in the Horticultural Gardens at Texas Tech University. Within this area are plenty of trees, shrubs, and hay that are perfect for diffusing and reflecting light. We went during the golden hour, around 5:00pm, when the sun was soft and warm. I actively sought out what I like to call, "pockets of light," or places in the environment that suddenly change light values. I placed my model, Isabella (preferably her face and eyes) in many of these pockets of light. Then, I metered my light to properly expose for the brightest areas (the highlights). Below are the resulting images from this fun shoot.

If you're in West Texas, or the surrounding area, and are looking for a portrait photographer, contact me. Would you like one-of-a-kind portraits like these? Reserve your session now. =)