Natural Light Fashion Photography Tips

You can’t always predict the weather. When you’re out on a one-day model shoot, you have to be able to think on your feet. Here’s a video where Washington, D.C. native Tim Coburn travels all the way to Ocean City, Maryland for a fashion shoot–only to find rainy grey skies upsetting his beach shots:

The video is a great tutorial on how to handle multiple lighting scenarios with minimal equipment. Tim’s going for a simple commercial look, so he doesn’t need a lot of heavy contrast or stark lighting.

Tips for Fashion Photography Lighting

  • Use a large panel for primary lighting (Tim uses a 4×7 panel, but any reflector will do)
  • Have your model facing away from the sun for a rim lighting effect
  • Think of a hazy sun as a giant softbox backlight, rather than your focal light
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A 4×7 panel reflector is a great tool for fashion photography.

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The reflector fills in shadows.

The sun peaks out partway through the day, so they switch locations to a tree-lined sidewalk, where Tim gets his model to dance around and move a bit. He uses the spots of light through the trees to create a more vibrant, textured series than you’d see in most ordinary studio shots. They move on to a variety of locations, demonstrating how a simple reflector can shape light in any situation.

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Asking your model to move around creates playful images.

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A light-hearted image from the shoot.

“One of the things I like to do is get the model to move. You can get some nice, playful shots that you can’t get when you’re posing.”  

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2 Comments

  1. Paulo Góes says:

    I liked a lot your style, letting the model move around and getting the most out of her beauty, not to mention the smart use of natural lighting. Congrats!

  2. G says:

    Cool, Ocean City is only 20 minutes from me. Great tips.

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