The Blog: See what
Sigma is saying.


Just Before Sunrise

I love using only natural light to create beautiful portraits. For me it’s so wonderful to go into a session with just my camera, a few lenses and some extra cards and batteries. The sun becomes my own private soft box and I have natural reflectors everywhere.

This image of DiorLena was taken in that “sweet light” at sunrise. With a gorgeous subject and perfect light it’s hard to go wrong. The sun was just starting to come up and the light was getting brighter by the minute. There was a bit of a breeze which added a little movement in her dress.

© 2012 Judy Host

I placed her where the sun was behind her and just above the water line.  I wanted to capture the warmth of the light and the waves of the ocean. I was using my 70-200mm DG OS with my settings at Aperture: F 2.8, Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec and ISO 640. This made for a great exposure, while still capturing the reflections and using some bounced light for her face.  It’s not that I don’t like flash fill, but when we have the ability to use natural light this way, why not?

Just After Sunrise

In this next image, I moved DiorLena underneath a bridge to capture the lines and shadows from all the morning light.  The sun was up at this time and the light on the beach was not quite what I wanted.  I loved the dynamics of the architecture of this bridge and the softness of my subjects dress moving in the breeze. When photographing directly into the sunlight, you create beautiful sunspots.  I work hard to get these spots.  I love them.

© 2012 Judy Host

My settings for this image: Aperture: F6.3, Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec, ISO 160 using the 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 to create a slight distortion and enhance those wonderful lines. The 12-24mm is fast becoming one of my favorite lenses.  I just love breaking all the rules.  I used NIK software to convert my image to a warm black and white to add a little edginess to the portrait.

Window Light

This next image is all about window light.  I am always so amazed at how gorgeous this light can be and how so few photographers are aware of it’s potential. Kameron is completely lit by the light coming through the window.  I have moved her closer to the window so that the light on her face is more pronounced,  almost as if I’m using a soft box.  As you can see, this creates a short lighting effect where the short side of her face gets the main light. I love this moment where my subject is deep in thought and beautifully lit if only for a short moment.

© 2012 Judy Host

When you have this kind of North light, you can photograph all day long and still have beautiful light for your subjects.  Shooting with the 105mm OS, my settings were: Aperture: F2.8, Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec and ISO at 640.

Outside overcast

At this point, I took Kameron outside to let her play a little bit before trying to capture yet another moment of quiet introspectiveness.  Asking my subjects to twirl has become a favorite activity for me when photographing young children.  It gives them some time to let loose and just be, while at the same time it can be tiring and then I can get the calm before the storm, so to speak.  Kameron loved spinning in circles and it makes for a fun portrait.  We were fortunate that the sky was overcast and we had very even light.  The parking lot by this old building was a light grey and acted as my natural reflector.

© 2012 Judy Host


I combined the three images together in Photoshop CS6.  Using the 105mm DG OS, my settings were: Aperture: F 5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec and ISO 160.

This next image of Kameron is one of my signature portraits.  After a lot of spinning in circles, I finally had my moment in time with her in the “zone” where she was totally herself, thinking about something or maybe nothing and perfectly lit by the reflection of the sunlight on the light colored parking lot.

© 2012 Judy Host


I added the script in Photoshop CS6 to break up some of the blandness of the grey building.  Using my 105mm, my settings were: Aperture: F5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec and ISO 160.


A favorite time of day to photograph, I honestly believe that everything looks better in this light.  Even weeds can look good with this soft, kind light.  So why not create a portrait it in?  In this image of DiorLena, I’m using a backlighting effect while also using a bit of it to illuminate a small part of her face.

© 2012 Judy Host

I have her body turned away from me to create a more interesting look and asked her to turn her face towards me.  The expression her on face says the rest.  The bokeh created by the shallow depth of field, frames my subject.  Using the 105mm my settings were: Aperture: F2.8, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec, ISO 3200.

After Twilight

This last image of DiorLena was created after twilight.  I was able to find a small doorway that was illuminated by a very bright light coming from above the archway.  I place her right underneath of it and asked her to close her eyes and turn her face into the light.  This creates a very dramatic lighting effect. By closing her eyes, it also makes the portrait of her a very private moment and hopefully it adds some mystery to it as well.  The graphics I added are from Graphic Authority.

© 2012 Judy Host

Still using the 105mm my settings were: Aperture: F 3.2, Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec, ISO 1250.

2 comments so far

Add Your Comment
  1. excellent photography, ur blog definitly increse my knowledge of photography

  2. Thank You Yogesh. Your comments mean a lot to me.