Creating Window Light Without Windows
– aka – Creative IMPROVISATION
As you know, I’m a natural light Wedding Photographer but I also offer lifestyle Portrait Photography. In my personal opinion, natural light is just delicious and makes people and things look just as delicious. No matter what the time of year or the weather, nothing beats natural light for me and my style.
My office space is very small. Small spaces come with very little natural light or opportunities to create images in front of big beautifully draped windows. So in order to mimic window light… one must IMPROVISE!
Recently, I did a little
experiment improvisation in my studio to try and create a self-portrait that resembled a backlit portrait. Here I am awkwardly test shooting on myself…
Below I’ve taken some snaps of my set up and how I created the back light affect… my secret for this was… drum roll please… a £1.99 white plastic shower curtain from Argos (a catalogue store here in the UK).
First, I set up a studio light behind my backdrop stand frame. Here you can see the shower curtain is draped to the right of the image just to show you the light behind the frame. This also gives you an idea of the dimensions of my studio office! The shower curtain acts as a giant diffuser to spread the light evenly. I kept the head of the light high as I wanted to create a little hazy affect of the light “spilling” over me.
Secondly, I secured the shower curtain onto the frame with some masking tape as it easily peals off without damaging the shower curtain.
Note: the apple box in front of my shower curtain was also a DIY job made by a friend! I searched google for “how to make photography apple boxes” and I found this awesome blog post by a fellow photographer Alistair Kerr. I purchased a huge piece of MDF from my local B&Q store for £32 and followed Alistair’s guide. I got 4 apple boxes from 1 piece of MDF (1 apple box can cost over £50!!).
The image above shows where I had the second light stand. It was directly in front of me on a low flash setting to fill any distracting shadows from my face. I layered two of my apple boxes up because I felt much more comfortable standing rather than sitting. Apple boxes are GREAT to work with because it allows you to move your body in “flattering” ways and gives your pose/posture support (as shown above).
A test-shoot turn useable images is always a win-win situation. Just a heads up, there was some serious side hip popping and leaning action in this one ha!
Camera – Canon 5D Mark III
Lens – Canon 50mm 1.4
Shutter Speed 1/160