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Portraiture Unplugged: Natural Light Photography

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Good lighting is everything in portraiture. The right light sculpts our subjects, smooths the skin, evens skin tones, and helps create the feeling of a third dimension in a two-dimensional image. The gold standard of lighting has, for the better part of a century, been produced by artificial lights (hot lights or strobes) in the studio. These sources allow for precise lighting effects on demand. However, artificial light cannot match the beauty or ambience that gorgeous natural light creates—and studio lighting can break the bank.

In part 1 of this book, Carl Caylor introduces readers to a failproof method for understanding, shaping, and harnessing natural light for dazzling results that rival studio-lighting looks. Using your powers of observation, an understanding of the physics of light, and employing a couple of inexpensive tools (reflector panels to bounce light and a gobo to block light), Caylor shows you how to make the most of the sunlight for indoor and outdoor location shoots—and even studio work. You’ll learn how to tweak the direction of light and manipulate lighting angles to re-create classic portrait lighting styles—short lighting, broad lighting, Rembrandt lighting, and more—that flatter and contour your subjects’ facial structures to make them look their very best.

In part 2 of the book, Carl provides an in-depth analysis into the techniques he used to create 60 beautiful natural-light portraits in myriad locations and circumstances, producing a wide range of portrait looks. Readers will learn how to integrate other elements that are important to building an effective portrait—including prop selection, wardrobe, composition, expression, posing, and even planning for a top-notch, contrasty black & white shot.

The text in this book, along with inspirational images, will coax many readers to enjoy a “back to basics” approach that will allow them to produce technically exquisite and profoundly artful, flattering portraits that will sell themselves to clients every time.
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