|Black & White and Something Blue - Fuji Pro-S-1, f11.0 @ 1/30sec ISO 400 This image was a PPA National Merit Print from one of our first digital weddings.|
Window Light Portrait Guidelines:
1) Look for windows with NO direct sunlight in them. North or South facing windows are the safest.
2) For portraits, the window is your Light Source NOT a background. You would never show the soft box in a studio portrait…I show no physical evidence of the window--not even drapes or shears. The shears usually over expose and blow-out anyway.
3) Keep your subject close to the window for the softest light--usually two to three feet is great.
4) Because window light is so soft I usually use a white reflector, for a soft fill, on the subject's shadow side--especially if the person is looking toward the camera. This is to avoid split lighting the face. If I have the person look out toward the window, creating short lighting, then I use NO reflector.
|With white reflector, f4.0 @ 1/125 sec ISO 400|
|f5.6 @ 1/60 sec ISO 400 f2.8 1/90 sec ISO 400|
5) Use the most telephoto lens you can given the space--to avoid distortion of your subject's features. I prefer to use more than a 100 mm focal length, if I can.
|f3.5 @ 1/250 sec ISO 1000, 200mm lens|
6) Use a tripod. Most of the time, to get a fair amount of depth-of-field, I'm using f4.0 for a bride at 1/30 sec or 1/15 sec at ISO 400. When I am photographing the flowers, shoes, or wedding dress, I'll do them very much like a commercial product image, by using f8.0 to f11.0 with shutter speeds as slow as 1 second at 400 ISO.
Window light is the easiest natural light source to use. Windows are everywhere these days. Modern homes and hotels have more windows than they have ever had due to the development of energy efficient, dual pane windows. In addition our cameras are superb at hight ISO's and coupled with faster f2.8 aperture lenses it's easier than ever before to use this beautiful light!
Author: Jerry W. Venz, Master Photographer CPP
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com