Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Sometimes when we do one of our Natural Light sessions the best light isn't out side.  In this case the best directional light was inside the client's home.  When I scouted their backyard and the front of their house, the week before, I noticed the sun room with nice big windows facing the backyard and made the mental note to try to fit that location into the session.

On the day of the session, I didn't think I would be able to use their sun room because the weather was coming in fast--the session was scheduled for October 30th.  If we had total cloud cover there would not be enough light to use the sun room at anything but a very high ISO and even then the light would be very flat and directionless.

What I needed was clear blue sky--without the sun--to give me the quantity of light to use my minimum f6.3 f-stop at 400 ISO and a reasonable shutter speed.  And at the end of the session that's exactly what I got!
f6.3 @ 1/80 sec., ISO 400
If you've read any of my previous blogs you may know that I always use some degree of telephoto lens for my portraits.  I Never use a wide angle focal length for portraits!  Well…Never say Never!  Their odd shaped sunroom from the corner that big love seat sat to my camera position in the opposite corner was maybe 12 feet. So, there goes my favorite 70-200mm f 2.8 portrait lens.  On goes my 24-105mm f4.0 lens and then I end up needing to use that lens at 47mm to get proper framing for cropping.  Oh, the horror!!!! 
What saved me was my distance from my subjects.  They look really good because they're very central in the frame.  You can see, however, that the window frame on the right is starting to bend as it goes out of frame.

Even though it was overcast outside earlier we had a deadline to do some editorial images for the cover of River's View Living magazine featuring this family's home.
 f7.1 @ 1/200 sec. 400 ISO, lens @ 105mm

The weather gave us this nice, broad, soft, light in their front yard--not my favorite lighting, but OK for it's purpose.

boy: f4.5 @ 1/400 sec., 400 ISO, Lens @ 200mm  and girl:
f4.5 @ 1/500 sec., 400 ISO, lens @ 200mm

The sky started clearing enough to give us some direction in the light for the portraits of the kids. Now we're back to proper focal lengths for portraits now that I have my 70-200mm f2.8 lens on my camera!

f6.3 @ 1/160 sec., ISO 400, lens @ 95mm
 This is one of the family set-ups we did in their backyard.  They were delighted with all the images, we got some nice images for the magazine, and I relearned that if I'm careful I can produce a nice portrait even with the "wrong" lens.

'Til next week….

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, Master Photographer Certified
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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