First of all...
A short introduction to the beautiful Jei. She models part time while working full time as a manager at a large retail chain. Jei calls Auckland home, and I was lucky enough to grab her for a session while she was back in Christchurch for a weekend.
She was only available during the evening for a short period, so I had to adjust my thinking and use harsh light for the first time in the studio room. Generally, I've always avoided this kind of light inside. If you're reading this as a photographer, you will completely understand as I believe most of us fear the dreaded 12 noon light on a bright, sunny day haha cursed bright light!
However, I believe a great photographer should be able to shoot in every kind of light. Especially that which is available to them. Being able to think on your feet and make things work shows real talent!
I actually ended up really loving the images we got in that harsh light.
The light worked really nicely to accentuate Jei's curves and made a really artistic, sexy but tasteful, look. All I did in post was bump down the highlights 4 steps, then bring down the whites. I find bringing down the white slider looks more natural than the highlight slider. Bringing down the highlight slider can just make it look really fake and 2d.
Doing the TFP meet ups, I've often watched the OCF (Off- camera-flash) photographers and wondered why they prefer using that instead of the beautiful light which surrounds. There's so many ways to utilize light...there's also so many ways to utilize your equipment and make it look natural. My opinion is that if you're guna use OCF outdoors, you need to use it in the way the light is actually flowing! Too many times you see the outcome of these shoots and they look kinda strange... the light is coming from so many directions that the whole image almost looks like the model has been photoshopped in. I believe every photographer needs to have a good understanding of light and how it works before even considering OCF. If you can't understand it, how can you recreate it in a natural way outdoors? A studio environment is one thing, outdoors in say a forest, is another.
I've posted these two images together as an example of what I'm going to explain next....
They are a really good example of what can be achieved in the same room, under the same conditions... the only thing that changes is the position. And it's easy as hell to do, I just walk from one side of the room to the other! haha I don't have to worry about cumbersome lighting equipment, space or trying to fiddle round with changing my settings on my camera and my equipment. During editing, I added a slight colour grade to the pin up/full body image to emphasize the colour of my room and Jei's outfit. But other than that, that's exactly what the light was like with being on the side of which the light was coming from. When you shoot with the light source behind you, of course the light is going to illuminate the subject. But.... I love shadows too much and need to cross over eventually to appease myself hahahah the second image with the real moody blues on the sheets... I underexposed slightly when shooting, then added contrast in post processing. That was it.
I like to think the body highlight as above is like my signature pose and a real show of my lighting style.
I've posted those first two to talk about, and the third is to actually show you how the light is falling on the subject. I've always been more of a "show rather than tell" kinda person as I know things can get lost in translation sometimes if I'm not explaining it very well. Too many photographers think they need to have full light illuminating the subject at all times. This is not the case... especially not with boudoir. The highlights on Jei in the studio room (when I shoot towards the lighting source) is just gorgeous... incredibly soft but still makes her booty pop!
The last set of images in this post were shot in my kitchen. This is an area is my house which is filled with light... I actually get it coming from both sides. Above and next to my oven, is a large cavity "box" with 3 windows. Behind Jei and beside the pantry, is a servery "window". This means I get softer light coming from the lounge area and front door. But... at the entrance to the kitchen, I have 2 large windows supplying even more light. None of the windows directly serving the kitchen face north, so it's always such beautiful, soft light in there. Looks kinda romantic, don't you think?
Well, I'll bring this post to an end. Hopefully it's brought about some questions for you and made you think a little bit more about the light you use, and how to use it to your advantage!