I am a pretty-much-outdoor-only photographer. I have no studio, and prefer natural light. One thing i took too long to learn: use the light. I started out as a photoshopper-gone-photographer, so i thought that i could always just ‘correct’ the lighting issues in photoshop afterward… and i can do that, but the time it takes to do it well is significant. Eventually, i learned to actually make friends with the light which cut down my photoshopping time greatly.
Help your subject find the light to add dimension, interest, and warmth to your images. Shadows are not the enemy! A lot of photography these days is all about just being bright and bold – and i do some of that too – but we have to remember that shadows define. Even when you are in open shade, turning toward the sun will give your subject more definition and bring a sparkle to their eyes.
Nearly full sun can be a beautiful choice. I usually stick with more serious expressions in this type of light.
Half light creates dimension and gives your photo a solid, down to earth look.
Rembrant was on to something with this style of lighting, appropriately named after him. Most of his paintings were created in this type of light set up. The light is cast from above and to the side, making this style of photo easy to catch around 3 – 4 pm. Beautiful, how both eyes are lit, but shadows still create an almost 3-D look.