I went home that night thinking about how much I loved that light. It reminded me of one of my favorite pictures of my daughter Alden when she was smaller - a picture that was taken in the back of our Tahoe.
The car was parked in the garage - garage door open - hatch up. Alden was playing in the back of the car while I unloaded groceries. When I uploaded the image I fell in love with the fall-off of the light. It made the image look like it was taken in a studio with a black backdrop, yet her face was fantastically lit. Of course, I realize that my 70-200 mm lens helped greatly with the compression of the background - which helped create some of the fall off.
The light I saw on McKenna's face last week completely reminded me of that image. I knew I'd bring my camera along to my next visit with Angie.
Take a look at Alden's image:
Now take a look at where it was taken:
I still swoon every time I see this picture. Yes, my daughter is adorable. Love those cheeks. Lover her expression. Love her little button nose. But, man oh man...I love that light!
I share this story and image to make a point. You do not need a fancy studio to create beautiful portraits. All you need is good light - and a good eye to be able to find it. A nice camera and lens helps...
One exercise that I do when shooting on location (if I don't see the light right off the bat) is to hold the back of my hand out straight in front of me and walk around in a circle. As I turn around I pay very close attention to where the light is falling best on my hand. When I see the very best light, I stop. That is where I will place my client - with their faces pointed toward that good light.
I used to look around for the pretty backgrounds. That can be a mistake. What good is a beautiful waterfall in the background if the client has shadows or dappled light running across their faces? I care less about the waterfall in the background - or the pretty trees - than I do about making my client look their absolute best in that situation.
As you train yourself in this technique, you will begin to naturally see where the light is best. Like the other day when I was at my friend's house and noticed the light on McKenna's face. You just start to see great light wherever you are. I see it at the park when I'm playing with my kids. I notice it indoors when I'm in new buildings. I often have the urge to ask a stranger if I can take their picture, because I see THAT LIGHT. I often point it out to my husband when we're out together. IT DRIVES HIM BONKERS!
Back to McKenna. These images were taken right under their open front door. After about 5 minutes it started pouring. The back of my shirt and pants were getting soaked. With major thunder storms coming our way, Angie's husband rushed me out the door and on my way. No worries, I had plenty of time to get what I needed!
Meet McKenna! My favorite quote from her yesterday: "I love being sassy!" With a chuckle I thought to myself, "Yes! I'm going to get some great shots today!"
And I did!
Where can you find this type of light:
1. A north facing window in your home
2. Directly under a porch or store overhang
3. Inside an open doorway
4. Any open shade (just be sure to face your subject facing toward the light source).
5. Really the possibilities are endless. Just start training your eyes to look for it and you'll find it.
Some of you guessed that I was using a soft-box for these images. Did you notice the glowing hair at the top of her head. The porch light must have been on, because I did not bring along any lighting. It works here with her red hair. But it reminds me that I have to stop and really take close note of the surroundings before hitting my shutter. I didn't even notice the light on her hair until my friend Paula commented about it on Facebook.
Well, I'm off to lunch to help celebrate a friend's birthday. Thanks for reading, everyone! If you haven't "Liked" my Facebook fan page yet, please do so HERE.
Have a great day!