Natural Light Portraits...A Little Ingenuity Will Do
Monte Zucker• Posted Jul 1, 2002
This new portrait of me was made by using window light coming from a high window. I was positioned to get perfect portrait lighting with just the window light and a silver reflector to open up the shadows. It doesn't get much easier than that!
At another class in Long Island I was working the same theme. That is, you can create great portraits just about anywhere, as long as you know how to control the light and the background. Walking around outside with the class I found a covered back entrance to a store. Instead of placing Alex under the covered area, I wanted to show everyone in the class what I meant to "shoot from dark to light."
I asked the class how we were going to handle the drain pipe that was cutting right through the back of his head. They all exclaimed, "Photoshop!" "Not so!" I answered them back. Instead, I had someone hold up my Westcott translucent diffuser panel (#1707) behind him. That's all there was to it.
Moments later I pointed out our next studio. It was under a covered walkway only a few steps away. Who would have thought, huh? Well, there was light coming in from the open area, plus more light coming down an open staircase. All I had to do was pose the photographer, Chip, between the two of them. I had light coming from both directions, but not lighting up his eyes.
And then, that's all she wrote. What we saw is what we got!
Photographers, Suzanne and Robert Love, recently visited my house. They wanted a new portrait for their next year's holiday card. The day we planned a beach shoot the weather didn't cooperate. The next day time was limited, so we shot right in my own pool area behind my house. I posed them just on the outside edge of an umbrella covering the outside table.
Why not try a dark background? That meant changing them to dark tops, of course, so that their heads would jump out in the portrait. Since the light wouldn't come through the dark background, I changed my tactics for creating the portrait. I posed them under cover right behind my living room. The light was coming in from my left. For the background I used my black/white Westcott background (#5685). The light source was so broad I didn't even have to use a reflector to open up the shadows. I simply had to turn them so that the ambient light wrapped their faces. I brought Robert slightly forward from Suzanne, so that her head wouldn't block the light from his face.
For more photographic instruction visit my web site: Zuga.net. We've got live video instruction going on there now. Have you experienced that yet?
You can now watch live video right from the comfort of your home on your computer. What can I say? It doesn't get much easier than that!