By : Nikon School Blog | 6 Mar, 2017 |
Light is one of the most important aspects of any photograph. Often, we find ourselves looking at impressive images and wondering how the photographer lit the scene. In many cases, we assume that the light used by the photographer is very complex and expensive. This is specially so if the image is shot by a famous photographer.
However, often, simple lighting can look very complex and attractive in an image; and no other light is so simple, yet so effective and attractive, than window light. Every living or working space has a window or a doorway. They can be of varying shapes and sizes, but they all do one thing very well – provide excellent light for portrait and still life photography.
Placing a portrait subject next to a window or doorway can give you very pleasing results. The light is softened as it is usually reflected light. You can create side lighting, or use a reflector to brighten up the shadows on the subject and create a more even effect. You can also use a silver reflector to get a more glamorous effect.
Window light is also very good to shoot any still life subject like food, flowers, statues, etc. You can use any white surface and reflect light from the other side to create uniform lighting. Keeping a plain background helps to highlight the subject.
Diffused light works best for portrait and still life. Window light is already diffused. Using light, white curtains can increase the diffused effect. Or, you can use a diffuser if curtains are not available.
Deep shadows create a sense of mystery and drama. You can place the subject a little away from the window to get darker shadows. To increase the effect, use Vivid picture control from the Shooting menu and switch off Active D'lighting. If you want lighter shadows, select Neutral or Portrait picture control. Switching on Active D'lighting from the short cut menu can also lighten the shadows. However, using high or extra-high mode for dark shadows can result in unpleasant noise artifacts.
Using window light as backlight can be very attractive for many subjects. However, you have to meter the subject's face, or the most important part to highlight, and use spot or Centre-weighted metering to get the exposure right.
Other areas where you can get naturally diffused light like window light are doorways, balconies, ventilators.
So, don't wait to buy expensive lighting equipment or hiring a studio to get pleasing images. Just use the windows of your living or working space effectively, and create lighting that will keep viewers wondering how you did it !