Monday, July 17

Searching for Light

Everyone would love to have ideal lighting for every photo session, especially if you are strictly a natural light photographer.  However, there are many situations where the lighting is not perfect....winter, rainy, harsh midday sun.  When used correctly, natural light indoors can be pleasing  and can also provide opportunity for some creative portraiture with contrast, shadows, and drama.  

Like any situation, do your research before you start photographing indoors. Many times the direction of the house, the position of the windows, along with the time of year plays an important part in the amount of light coming through. Is your house North-South facing or East-West? What are sunrise and sunset times where you live, or where you are going to be photographing? Does the room have a sunroof that lets in additional light? Light also changes depending on the time of day.  As light changes, so does the color of light. This directly affect the white balance (WB) of the image. If your camera has the ability to shoot in RAW use it, as white balance can then be adjusted in post-processing. If you really want to get it right in camera, experiment with the Kelvin scale.

The best source of natural indoor light is windows.  The closer you are to a window the more light you have to work with.  Also where you place your subject with also greatly affect the image.  There are three basic scenarios for using window light:  side light, front light and back light.

Side light:  you place your subject parallel to or at a slight angle to the window.
Back light:  you place your subject with their back to the window.   In this case, you meter for the subject and let the window area blow out.  You can also use a reflector to pop light back onto your subject.
Front light:  you place your subject facing the window and you are between your subject and the window.  This produces even light.

This is the first time I've photographed anything in my living room.  It was sunny and I really liked the light coming in on my lava lamp  *grins*.  

I really liked these shots and, as I am a photographer who likes to use textures, I added a little to the light in these.

Window light is awesome.  You can practice at home by placing a subject near and window and try to get as much variety as you can by moving the subject.  I hope this post will prompt you to explore the light in your home.

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