How to Enhance Natural Light by Roberto Valenzuela

How to Enhance Natural Light by Roberto Valenzuela

Canon Explorer of Light, Roberto Valenzuela, will show you how to get natural light to work for you at all times: cloudy, rainy, snowy, sunny…it won’t matter. By adding light to your shoots you’ll achieve two important goals:

  • Increase the exposure on your subject and create separation between the background and subject.
  • Add directionality to the light: Directionality that you can control, not the window, not the door, YOU can control it. You still get that feeling of natural light, but you can control the exposure and the Reflex S like ambient light. So the shutter speed and aperture will operate the same as when shooting in natural light.
Model: Renée Murden @reneemurden

The use of natural light is easy and predictable. Predictable in a sense that what you see is what you get in the camera. However, the weather can be unpredictable. You can’t predict if it’ll be raining, sunny or cloudy. You can’t choose the direction the light will come from. When you have these unpredictable variables, it makes it harder for a photographer to shoot with a specific style. 

If the light of the subject is the same intensity as the light illuminating the background, you don’t have any separation. At the end of the day, you’ll get a lot of flat light. 

How do you as a photographer stand out? 
You can stand out by adding lighting. I need things to be done quickly and easily. I want to enhance the ambient light rapidly and simply. 
Here is what I will do:

I’ll take a photo of Renee, and you'll see the light on the right and left are the same. Creating no dimensionality.

Renee Murden

This shot was captured at ISO 400, aperture 2.2, and shutter is 1/25

Here is how quickly I’m able to switch it out to proper exposure. 

There are a few ways of achieving this with the StellaPro Reflex S:

  • Use Reflex without any modifier.
  • Attach Reflex to a softbox adapter.
  • Attach a hard modifier to Reflex. 
What makes the StellaPro Reflex lights special is the fact that you can use the continuous light as a modeling light and then push the button to switch to Digital Burst mode to get double the output than in continuous mode. With the Digital Burst you can choose how much separation you get from the subject to the background, and you can do that at 20 Frames Per Second at full power.
The first goal is to create separation between the subject and background.
Renee Murden - Without diffuser and with diffuser

Another thing you can do is to bring the light closer to the subject. Bring the diffuser inches from the light so it becomes a small light modifier and now you’ll get a punchier light.

Renee Murden

Now bring the diffuser closer to the model. Now the modifier acts like a big light modifier. 

Renee Murden
Notice the light on her and the background, you can see that she's glowing. You create the dimension that you want.
Now I want to add a little bit of drama. So I’ll switch the diffuser and light positions.
Here are the results:
Renee Murden - Natural Light & Reflex

Gear Used


Reflex S


Profoto Large Collapsible Diffuser with Handles