I've only really started working on location at the start of Spring because it's quite out of my comfort zone to begin with; it's unpredictable, completely unique to the environment and I've not had much experience with it except self portraits.
The number one thing I hate in the world is shooting in a situation where I'm not prepared, so I decided to just go for it. Experience is experience!
I really don't get on well with using flashguns/speedlights on location so I don't. I use my Bowens studio lights with a Travelpak on location if I need extra light - they're much heavier/bigger and generally a bigger pain but my rule is that I need to feel comfortable shooting so if it means it takes me twice as long to ferry my kit so be it.
My general way of lighting is natural 98% of the time, so I'll focus on that for now.
The Sun is your Strobe.
The weather certainly plays a huge effect if you shoot on location; The most important even. The sun is your light source, your main light, so the way the weather clouds or covers it can affect it. I tend not to worry about it unless it's blazing sunlight (which can be awful) but remember a reflector is your best friend, regardless if you shoot with natural light or not. It helps throw light back into the image and can make such a difference.
The shots of Victoria below were shot on an overcast day. Through the location there was pockets of light which is where we shot - of course you shoot accordingly to perhaps over-expose a little to make it feel a little brighter.
The shot of Victoria above was a little harder - we needed her to be lying in a shallow enough part of the river so she could float but also needed her facing with the sun falling onto her face.
I didn't use a reflector here because I couldn't with just me & the model in the water, however the fabric in the water acted as a good pop onto her face. This can work for anything - a wall can be a reflector, or a white top, improvisation is key.
On my editorial with Lucy we shot on a fairly intensely warm & bright sunny day with literally no cloud coverage which was quite a test.
With the first shot below, Lucy faced into the sunlight with her body but her face facing away to avoid the dark circles under her eyes the sun would create with it being so high.
You can see the dark shadow in her eyes here slightly, although I'd only work it with an image full length instead of close up to not emphasise it.
With this shot here it worked completely in our favour with the rock facing towards the sunlight so with the right angle of her face the sun acted as a lovely huge soft box.
I find it easier sometimes to pretend the sun is my studio light in the way it's positioned - it can help you plan a little more sometimes.
The shot of Lucy below was taken face forward so we didn't want her facing the sun, getting a lovely squint so having the sun to the side of her helped get enough fill on one side and light her right side, so here the sun acted as if I had a studio light to the left hand side facing directly at Lucy, with fall off lighting the rest of her.
The shots below were all taken on an overcast day again and the first image of Fran is shot against the sun, with the lens positioned in a way to create flare; it was mostly in camera settings that got the exposure a little under exposed (to avoid burnt out highlights) with the rest done post-processing.
I think this image of Fran is one of the easiest examples anyone can try; over cast sunlight, model facing towards the sun with a reflector under her face (helps pop a catch light in the eye)
With Annabel here, we tried something a little different but doing the same as the above but using the golden side of the reflector which adds a warm glow to the skin. Not my usual style but I quite liked the pop of colour warming her face up.
I find that the weather can certainly change the feel of a location shoot; When I went up to London to shoot with Joanna (below) we got extremely lucky the sun was gorgeous and warm - I guess you have to be vigilant with the weather and have a back-up plan.
The two images of Joanna above I found happened to be move about MY positioning around hers. The first image by the water was more integral about positioning her to get the light on her face and then for myself to get into an angle to replicate how the sun fell - i.e lead on the floor - if I'd have shot above her face then it wouldn't have worked whatsoever.
The last image of Joanna was down to my positioning for the lighting. The sun fell in a lovely pocket where she stood but I wanted no shadow on her face, so I stood lower than her (advantage of being petite!) and got her to look into the sunlight directly, opening her eye to catch a catchlight and point her face level with it.
It takes a good model to avoid squinting!
This is just *my* way of shooting - there is no wrong or right way, but just some advice on my experiences of shooting outside.
If there's any questions/ideas for future blog/anything anyone wants to know then feel free to get in contact!