Shaping Natural Light


If the goal is a natural looking scene, you might just need to shape what’s already there. Here’s how we made this image with available light.


There were just two components to this setup: diffusion and negative fill.


☑️ We diffused the sun with a 4x4 frame of voodoo cloth - that fabric is heavy duty and makes for some beautiful wrapping and creamy highlights.


☑️ Then we basically built a fort out of 4x4 floppies to add contrast to the subject.


☑️ The scrap duve on the floor did a ton to kill excess bounce. This might be one of my favorite tricks for adding contrast in a shot.


So, how do you know if using available light will pass the vibe check on your shoot?


🌞 Use the Sun Seeker app to track the movement of the sun for the duration of the scene. You may need to make small adjustments as it moves.


🌞 Check the local weather to make sure you’ll be clear from unwanted clouds and rain.


❌ I wouldn’t recommend going natty if you will be shooting for longer than an hour or need to match a look between scenes.


Anyone can have a van full of fancy gear but knowing when to pull out the right tools is key.


DP David Stewart @hiddenwoodsfilmco


Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with a grip truck based in Lafayette, Colorado serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain region at large.