This Is How I Got The Shot | Natural Window Light
Not every picture we take is a huge production. In fact, more often than not we have our camera and little else. No strobes and reflectors and so forth.That means we have to take advantage of what the natural environment has to offer. We have to keep our eyes open for big lights, small lights, bright windows, dim windows, mirrors, shiny surfaces, or interesting shadows. These are things that veteran photographers start to look for. And I don’t just mean when they have their camera in hand. After some time you will start looking for these things everywhere you go; almost subconsciously. Make a habit of not just looking at light, but seeing it. What is it doing? How is it bouncing?
Image A | What’s In The Room?
First let’s assume the only thing we have is our camera and our lens. This is not uncommon, and was the case for me on this holiday. Not every room has a window. Not every window is big. It’s not always light outside. Some rooms have floor lamps, some have overhead lighting. My point is, in a room that is pretty much bare, that is kind of how your photo will turn out. Often times, (not always), when it comes to bare-minimum shooting, the surroundings are just as important as your subject for a great picture. In this image there isn’t really any interesting light. I used Photoshop to dull the eyes because there would be no catch lights. The background would be very boring.
Image B | Use the Natural Light
Here’s where my setup started. Again, all I had was my camera. I noticed a large window in the room. I knew that if the baby was facing away from the window the eyes and face would be dark. Not what I want. So, having the mother hold the baby so she was facing the window, immediately the eyes and face light up. You can see the reflection and catch light in her eyes. The blues start to come alive. However, there is still a boring background.
Image C | What is Your Background?
Remember, taking a picture is not just about the subject. It’s about the composition, and that includes the background. In this case, I was using a 100mm f/2.0 wide open. I knew that whatever was in the background would be out of focus with nice big bokeh. So, I could have sat on the couch to left of mommy and daughter, or to the right. I assessed the situation, and noted that if I sat on the left I would be shooting into a corner with nothing in it (like image B). If I sat on the right, there was a Christmas tree in the background. It had tons of those little Christmas lights. Because I am using a fast lens, I knew that those little lights would twinkle with the large bokeh from my shallow depth of field. That’s How I Got The Shot.
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