Spoiler Alert: it's not angry bears.
Have you seen the new feature film The Revenant yet? Set in the nineteenth century snowy Canadian wilderness, it's a starkly beautiful film, if not gruelling and relentlessly intense.
I was interested to discover that it was shot almost entirely using natural light. This is quite a feat for any film, more so for one where the crew and actors are at the mercy of an extreme and remote environment.
Shooting children and family portraits with natural light is often more challenging than shooting with professional lighting, and there’s no denying that it has it’s drawbacks. By it’s nature it is constantly changing, and this inconsistency can be demanding. Ironically, not using lights doesn’t make the work easier, it simply shifts the workload elsewhere. While I may save time not having to carry and set up lighting, I always need to plan a session carefully and research where the sun will be, and indeed what the weather will be doing that day. Changing weather or time of day will completely alter the look of an image, whether it be harsh mid day sun, cloud cover, or the golden hour at sunset.
So with so much professional lighting out there, and the consistency it affords, why do film makers and photographers like myself still choose to shoot with natural light?
Simply put, nothing can replace the warmth and delicate subtleties of natural light. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, there is a richness to it that simply can’t be replicated with artificial lighting.
In the coming months here on the blog I’m really excited to be sharing some of my top tips on understanding different light, so that hopefully you’ll be inspired to take amazing photographs of your children, wherever you are. With step by step instructions and a few simple pointers, you'll see how easy it is to make the best of whatever light you have.
Do you have any questions about lighting your photos that you'd like to ask me? Any queries on what makes a great shot, anything you've always wanted to know but weren't sure who to ask? I'd love to hear from you! Just leave me a comment below or drop me an e mail me and I look forward to hearing from you.
"Light makes photography. Embrace it. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography".
George Eastman, born 1854, founder of the Kodak Company