Many photographers shy away from portraiture for a couple reasons: Either they lack an understanding of on-camera flash, or they don’t own more complicated (and expensive) lighting gear. Today you’ll learn an alternative approach that delivers beautiful people pictures without supplemental illumination.
You can actually capture impressive portraits indoors or out by employing natural light. In today’s quick episode from the Newcastle Photography College YouTube channel, you’ll learn how to get the job done in the comfort of your home, simply by taking advantage of window light.
Instructor Corey Solomons is an Australian pro who is very generous about sharing the knowledge he’s acquired over the past 40 years. He notes that with this approach, “your camera’s light meter will usually do a great job recording the brightness of an image, because with this form of available light what you see is pretty much what you’ll get.”
Window light tends to be a soft, indirect form of illumination that will deliver flattering results if you follow the simple instruction Solomons provides. In essence you’ll be using the light that’s reflected off your subject in a way that’s far more effective than harsh light on a person’s face that often makes the subject squint.
Not only is window light free, but it’s also easily controllable. As you’ll see, “we can control it’s direction and intensity, as well as its color if need be.” When the sun is streaming through a window hard light is what you’ll get, which imparts distinct shadows. Conversely, soft light occurs when the sun is shining in another direction.
Solomons explains why soft light is the way to go and he provides several simple tips for getting the job done. This type of light is more evenly spread across your subject, easier to deal with, and delivers far more flattering portraits than sunlight streaming through a window.
A North-facing window is ideal for those of us living in the Northern hemisphere because you’ll never have to worry about the location of the sun and the harsh light it provides. Or as Solomons says, “you’ll have nice soft light all day long,”
Solomons has an interesting tip for photographers who don’t have a North-facing window in their home; namely, shoot in the garage with the door open and position the subject far enough back to avoid direct light coming from any direction. You can find more quick tips and tricks by visiting Solomons’ popular YouTube channel.
And speaking of light, don’t miss the tutorial we posted earlier from an image-editing expert who demonstrates how to remove ugly, unnatural color casts that can ruin your people pictures.