Natural light isn’t my favorite light source to use when photographing portraits.  Left unmodified, it can produce extremely harsh, distracting shadows and searing hotspots.  Even on overcast days, there is a tendency for it to create a ‘raccoon eyes’ effect in the subject’s eye sockets.  Having said that, when properly directed and diffused, the shadow transition can produce some striking headshots.  Take the portrait of Alex (below).

It was a clear day and thus I needed a way to disperse the harshness of the direct sun.  We were near The Porter Center and a quick joggle of the door handle allowed us to find an impromptu studio.  Windows and doorways come in handy to create on-the-fly softboxes (lighting instruments).  Once inside we found a west-facing window, ten feet by six feet.  Plenty large to spread the suns rays.  Fortunately the noon sun had yet to encroach past its zenith, otherwise the natural light would be beaming directly through the window.

Her portrait below is a pretty straightforward example of controlling the light using available resources.  The preponderance of light was emitted from her from behind her.  To better define her striking features, just two modifiers were used – one reflector camera right and one reflector mid torso (yes, I carry them with me everywhere I go), both directing the light back into her face.  The use of these modifiers accomplished three objectives – 1. they created a nice falloff of light and shadows across her face and neck 2. they highlighted her distinct cheekbones and better defined her jaw (she’s part Cherokee) and 3. filled in the dark areas around her eyes (reduced the ‘raccoon eyes’).  By metering the exposure for her face, the trees and everything else outside the window were blow-out and thus a somewhat angelic effect was created.  The image was fairly easy to devise because the lighting was very straightforward.  That and I was blessed with a natural beauty.  I can’t believe she’d never never sat for a portrait before, let alone modeled.

Contact Forrest now for an immediate and free consult:  828-756-0888

Alex Shores Headshot by GreenvilleCommercial Photographer Forrest Briggs

Contact Forrest now for an immediate and free consult:  828-756-0888