Saturday, May 9, 2009

5/9/2009 - Portraits w/ reflected light

What is one to do when your own kids have had quite enough of playing model... well, borrow the neighbors kids, of course!!!

It had been a while since I had done some portrait work using just natural light and as I was finishing up the yard work, I noticed that the light in the yard was perfect. I decided it was a perfect opportunity to get some nice pictures of my daughters. Nothing doing. Apparently, riding scooters is much more fun than standing around takng directions from you dad while he tries to figure out where that perfect light is... go figure.

But, all was not lost. As I was about to sulk back into the house, dragging my gear behind me with that dejected look on my face (yes, I'm not above a little guilt technique), my neighbor Timmy asked, "Mr Roberts, what are you doing?".

Aha!!!! "Timmy, come on over buddy, and I'll show you"

Interesting how all of a sudden my own kids became more interested in what I was doing at this point, also. There is something to be said for peer pressure, afterall. With a little hounding I was able to convince my oldest to hold the reflector.

The trick to using a reflector is to skim the light onto your subject to create a nice feathered light. If you bounce the light back at 180 degrees from the light source, it will look harsh... to say nothing of possibly blinding your model. Also, in most cases, the ideal lighting technique, for any lighting setup, is to give the feel that there is only one light source (i.e. shadows all in the same direction). Any additive light should be a fill and not as strong as the main lightsource.

However, in this case, my subject was in a shaded area and I was using my reflector for the main lightsource. The sun was about an hour from setting to camera right. However, Timmy was mostly blocked from the sun by the archway he was standing next to (to his right). I had my daughter hold the reflector at camera left, about 2 feet in front of my subject. The light was being reflected at Timmy's head at about a 45 degree angle.

The catchlight you see is from the reflector. You can see that it is at about 9:00 in relation to Timmy's pupils. If my daughter were taller, I would have liked the reflector to be higher so the light were more at 10:30. But, a dad can only ask for so much :)