by Patrick Ilagan . October 30th, 2014
For someone who has been shooting portraits using hot shoe flashes for the longest time, switching to an all-natural light setup can be a little difficult for me. Maybe it’s the control freak in me or maybe I just rely on my hot shoe flashes way too much to the point that I’ve started seeing natural light as ambient light. For Romanian photographer Gabriel Mester however, creating images with only natural light (she does not even use a reflector too) at her disposal is nothing short of amazing.
Her images have this lovely ethereal glow that comes from within. We asked how she does her compositions and she told us that it is often improving something she had tried before that didn’t turn out well; other times, she looks through the works of other photographers to get fresh ideas.
Gabriel’s favorite photographers for inspiration include names such as Felicia Simon as well as Laura Zalenga, Madeline Masarik, Ezgi Polat, and Joshua Malik among others. It comes to no surprise that some of Gabriela’s portraits are dreamy and somewhat caught in the moment of quiet contemplation. But one thing that separates her is that her photographs are much more vibrant and joyful to the eyes.
When asked what are her tips for photographing under natural light, she said: “The most important thing to consider as a natural light photographer is the quality of the light you will be shooting in. Understanding how to use light and shadow to your advantage is critical”. To create a flattering portrait with only natural light, Gabriela looks for soft, even light — this is to avoid harsh shadows as well as having the model squint. Using a 40-150 mm lens also allows Gabriela to be adequately far from her subject without being disconnected to them and still create lovely, soft-blurred rendering in the background.
Technicalities aside, for Gabriela, a beautiful light, a genuine connection, and a glimpse into the soul are the 3 things she strives to capture in her photography. She believes that the simplest and most ordinary scene can be transformed into something magical when infused with vibrant colors, stunning natural light, and a truthful connection with her subject.
You can check out more of Gabriela’s lovely dreamy portraits on her Facebook and Deviantart do not forget to follow us on Facebook and in Pinterest as well. If you have awesome portraits to share you can submit those on our image gallery and we’d love to put a spot light on your work.
Patrick Jude Ilagan is a graphic designer/photographer hailing from the vast jungles of urban Manila. Always on the look out for visually appealing stuff he scours the internet and the bustling city in search of inspiration. His tools for mass creation is a Canon 500D along with a wide array of lights and lenses plus a 4 year old (but still fighting) laptop. Check out his work on Tumblr.
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