Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Window Portrait

[peabn[8].jpg]As you know, portraits are pretty much based on flattering light. It’s only natural that we take a picture inside, realize it’s not right and gravitate right towards the light source: the window  ( really a few shots under a florescent will send you scrambling away in a flurry).  The “window portrait” is a trick that many many photographers use…it’s like the “go to” area for light. You’ll find this method used all the time in Food Blogs. I used this trick for my picture of boiled peanuts.

So here's the 411: A window portrait= the use of a single window as your natural light source.

You may be wondering, “ but I’ve already tried taking pictures by our window and didn’t get anything special!”. Well, that’s because there's a part two.

Facial planes look best when there is plenty of light bounced into the eyes, and no harsh shadows. THEREFORE, you need to bounce some of that juicy window light back onto the subject using a reflector. Don’t have one? neither do I! For 2 dollars at your local craft store go get your self a plain ol white piece of foam board ( you can use a shiny white poster board too). If you need even more reflection, use some tinfoil wrapped around an old frame.

Posistion your subject (be it food or a person) next to the window. Use your reflector on the other side. Position it correctly with careful observation of where you are bouncing your light. You want some shadows, or you will wash out the face. That’s why this light setup is practically foolproof: one main light source, one secondary. 


As a disclaimer, there is nothing evil or wrong about not reflecting light. A single light source on one side of a photo can create a moody and atmospheric shot. Don’t be afraid to play around with it and try to think about the mood you are trying to evoke. In normal situations however, it’s better to have a more evenly lit shot for faces or food.

1 comment:

  1. Ummm this was one of my favorite posts!! Absolutely A-MAZING! :-)


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