Make the most of natural light in a small in-home studio

Dec 18, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Make the most of natural light in a small in-home studio

Dec 18, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

There’s a big belief surrounding portrait and fashion photography that you always need to have an elaborate lighting setup. While having a bunch of flashes and modifiers can certainly help, it isn’t always necessary. You can still produce great results in an indoor setting with natural light just streaming in through the window. As this behind the scenes video from photographer Irene Rudnyk proves.

YouTube video

Shot in her own home, Irene clears the furniture out of the way, sets up a backdrop, and sets the stage for her model, Shiann with the assistance of make up artist, Monica. To make the most of the light, Irene utilises her large bay windows, pulling up the blinds to let as much light as possible into her living room. For gear, Irene uses a Canon 5D Mark III with an 85mm f/1.2L II USM lens.

One of the advantages of shooting in a home studio is that just about everything you own is readily available for you to use. Want to give the dress a puffier appearance? Pull in a couple of chats on which to prop it up. Need your subject’s knees a little higher? A box and a pillow takes care of that. Need a tiny assistant to watch you critically while you shoot? Well, it looks like that’s covered, too.

Irene sets herself off-centre from the window, to prevent shielding some of the light coming through and causing unevenness. She also shoots from a short step ladder to provide a more flattering angle on her subject.

Irene suggests bringing the model as close to the window as possible. You’ll be limited by the lens you’re using, but bringing the subject closer effectively makes the window a larger light source relative to your subject. This results in a softer light, with the shadows filled in a little more.

It all comes together to produce a beautiful final result. A result which many would immediately assume was lit with flash, if they did not know better.

Natural light photography isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes (often?) it can be used to great effect. But whether you’re using the natural light or flash, knowing how to control it and make the most of it is the important bit.

[via FStoppers]

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 responses to “Make the most of natural light in a small in-home studio”

  1. g_disqus Avatar
    g_disqus

    Why 1/320?

    1. Esteban A. Pérez Avatar
      Esteban A. Pérez

      Maybe that was the indicated for the situation.

      1. g_disqus Avatar
        g_disqus

        There is motionless person and high ISO. I think ISO 400 and shutter speed 1/160 was ok. 1/160 sec. is very good for 85mm lens.

        1. Vincent Cyr Avatar
          Vincent Cyr

          Most photographers settle on a “look”, of which ISO noise could very well be a part of. The relatively high ISO is just a part of how that distinctive look is obtained.

    2. Jia Chen Lu Avatar
      Jia Chen Lu

      Because F1.2… And sunlight is bright
      Instagram.com/LuJiaChenPhotography

      1. Tom Parsons Avatar
        Tom Parsons

        If that was the case drop the iso too and voila ;)

      2. g_disqus Avatar
        g_disqus

        hmmm… so bright sun, but ISO 800?

    3. Tom Parsons Avatar
      Tom Parsons

      Lol my question too could have then dropped the iso considerably