How To Get The Most Out Of A Daylight Studio
Updated: May 17
Wondering how you can elevate your daylight studio images? Look no further as we will offer up three tips and techniques which will help you bend and mould daylight to create more compelling and dramatically lit images.
A fear held by many photographers who use daylight in their photoshoots is that the resulting images will appear flat, lacking depth and contrast. This is especially true on days where lighting conditions are less than ideal. However, now you can fear no more as we show you three techniques that can improve the quality of your daylight studio images.
Tip one: Anticipating weather and light quality.
Always plan ahead and have the weather in mind when choosing a day to shoot in a daylight studio, weather apps can be useful to find out when your sun is rising or setting. If you’re looking to create dramatic images with harsh contrast keep an eye out for bright sunny days where you can get a lot of direct sunlight, the hard light from the sun will create strong shadows on your models face/ body while also creating shadows which separate your subject from your backdrop and creates depth. If you want to work with more lowkey, soft lighting, book your daylight studio session on an overcast or hazy day. Clouds and haze work as a natural scrim or soft box and allow you to show more detail on your subject.
Everyone with a smartphone has access to weather apps and they can be good for a brief overview of the likely weather conditions on a shoot day. However, you can go further in depth with apps such as SunSeeker which gives you a break down in AR of where the sun will be at every hour of the day, this can be ideal for finding out when the sun will be shining directly into your daylight studio or for finding the colour temperature at different times of the day from cold morning light to the warm light of golden hour!
Tip two: Using Poly Boards to reflect and absorb light.
Polyboard's are a great cheap tool found in all good daylight studios which work to make the most of the daylight available. Poly boards are used to bounce, block or absorb light. The white side reflects light around the room and on to the subject and the black side which absorbs the light.
Polyboard's are a great way to create a fill light, positioning the white side of the board on the darker Side of your subject will help bounce the daylight and create a more dynamic light across your subject.
To create more contrast in your daylight studio you can use two polyboard's. place the black side of the polyboard on one side of the subject and the white side on the other, this absorbs light on one side of the subject and reflects more light onto the other side of the subject, creating stronger shadows and depth.
Polyboards are extremely versatile and can be incorporated into the most complex of lighting setups, make sure to experiment with them the next time you’re in a daylight studio.
Tip three: Scrims and Dappled lighting.
The use of Scrims and Dappled lighting are ways of affecting the quality of light that enters your daylight studio and can help you create unique and interestingly lit images.
Scrims are another low cost piece of equipment that can elevate your images.
On a day where sunlight is particularly harsh you can use a scrim, a scrim is a semi permeable fabric usually stretched over a canvas which filters the incoming light. All you need to do is position the scrim between your subject and your source of daylight and sit back as soft light streams over your subject.
Dappled lighting is another brilliant way to create interestingly lit images while also offering the photographer an outlet to get experimental with lighting. Dappled lighting can be achieved in a variety of different ways but at its core it can be done by placing materials such as patterned glass or by cutting out shapes on a large piece of card and placing it in front of your source of daylight. You can be as creative as you want when trying out dappled lighting, if you wanted to bring the outside world into your daylight studio you could cut out leaf patterns to emulate the light which falls through the trees for instance. Next time you're in a daylight studio use a variety of different translucent materials or patterns to create original looking images!
Hopefully with these three easy tips you can now more confidently explore new ways of using sunlight and create more compelling and interesting images in your daylight studio sessions.