A few weeks ago in my Knitting Pi post, I shared a few photos I took of Hezekiah modeling his Pi Hat. For once I had the presence of mind to take a pull-back shot so I could share with you how you don’t need a whole lot to get a great image. You just need to understand light and have a plan.
Here is an image from that day that didn’t make it onto the blog, but will be put in our family photo album (along with other shots). This photo is less than ideal from a portrait standpoint. I saved it because of Hezekiah’s cute expression, but the light in his eyes is awful. In his right eye you see two spots of light- not good. You can also see the window and other room behind him. To get the other photos, I simply turned him *slightly* more toward the window (to even out the catchlights in his eyes) and stood *above* him to block out the ugly background.
See how much nicer this photo is? I shot pretty wide open (f 2.2) to blur the floor in the background. Not only is the “looking up” pose flattering, but it solved my background problem. And since he’s turned just a bit toward the light, I now have beautiful catchlights in his eyes. Since this is a photo that will go on my wall, I took just a moment to edit out the scratch on his nose, but left the mole just under his left eye.
Ready to see where I was shooting these photos?
Here’s my SOOC (straight out of camera) pull-back shot: The difference is amazing, isn’t it? I don’t have a studio or any fancy backdrops, so I’ve learned to use my house and its big windows to my advantage.
This photo of Apollo was taken in exactly the same spot. I took it in the morning (instead of afternoon) because I wanted the dramatic lighting. The backdrop here is a gray blanket that I use for my newborn shoots.
And here is casual shot, taken next to the same window. The light falls so beautifully I knew it would make a great black and white image. I chose not to worry about the window or Apollo in the background, since this is just a daily snapshot for our family albums. This photo was all about capturing a moment of our homeschool day, not about making a portrait.
Any questions or input? I’m always up for talking photography!