I love spring in all of it’s bursting of blossoms and blooms and the promise of new life! This senior editorial cherry blossom edition didn’t disappoint of course. Our evening consisted of the first warmth of the year and a gentle breeze with a soft sunlight dancing throughout the silky flowers, I photographed this stunning beauty intertwined between the delicate flower petals of spring’s first fruits of blossoms. She was magic… It was all magic.
My go-to lighting setup is always natural light with my subject backlit but on this night I wanted to experiment with the quality of light. I still used the sun as my only the light source but as luck or the universe would have, it’s source was still diffused with hints of concentration as it ebbed and flowed throughout the cloudy sky. As you can tell below some of the images are softer than others based on subject placement and light source intensity. If you’re new to photography playing around with natural light and being intentional with your light source will teach you what works best for you and your photography. Below I’ve labeled out light placement and intensity. I always photograph all of my clients early morning up to 3 hours after sunrise or starting 3 hours before sunset. This time of day gives me that golden glow or “magic hour” light that helps facilitate dreamy portraits. This particular editorial shoot was approximately 2 hours before sunset so the sun was nice and low to give me the kind of light I was looking for.
Backlit: Notice the highlight of the image is coming from behind her, illuminating her hair which is giving her almost a halo/angel effect. The light is diffused (behind a thin cloud) so there isn’t much contrast. Her face is away from the sun creating an all over even light on her skin. It’s soft and creamy.In this set Brooke is facing the sun which is creating that pretty catchlight in her eye. You can tell that the sun was still behind a thin layer of cloud because the light is still soft and even on her face, however; there is more contrast in these images than the ones above. Here the sun has come out behind the cloud completely and is creating a much stronger contrast. You can tell by the highlights on the bridge of her nose, her cheeks and bottom lip. You can also see a distinct short loop shadow next to her nose and the right side of her face.I wanted to take the sun contrast a bit further and play with the shadows so I had Brooke step back into the blossoms so that I could create shadows of the blossoms on her face. The sun is still shining directly on her without any cloud cover and because it was late in the day the highlights are not overbearing.If you’re new to the photography world I hope you were able to glean a bit about quality of light and recognize that you don’t need fancy equipment to get the look and feel you’re going for. The sun is all the light source you need, you just have to learn to wield it as a tool for creating great portraits. xo, Jessy