Reflections on a year in 365 photographs


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A window-lit portrait of my youngest son, Ben.


Considering the image: My bedroom makes the most awesome softbox window light studio when we pull the white pleated shades.  The softness of the light combined with the sparse zen decor make it easy to set up and get quick, beautiful portraits.  This one is of my youngest son, Benjamin.  He is quite a ham for the camera and his smile seems to melt even the hardest heart out there.  Don’t be too fooled, though.  There’s plenty of boyish mischief behind those eyes!

I intend to take more children’s portraits as this project moves forward.  I love working with kids.  Their pure expressions and emotions really come through in photographs.  If you can connect with them, they will reward you and their families with great keepsakes.  This one, for instance, will definitely make its way to the grandmas.

Making the photograph: As noted, this is a simple, window-lit portrait.  I used the “Nifty-Fifty” EF 50mm f/1.8 set at f/4 and a shutter speed of 1/50th with ISO 100.  The main light was the shaded window to camera right.  I held a white fill board in close and just out of the frame to camera left.  Having a lens with a fast aperture helps see what the board is doing as I move it around to fill in the shadows and maintain a catchlight in his eyes.  If this were a paying shoot I would have someone else hold the board, though since that meant I shot one-handed at a relatively low shutter speed.  For post processing on portraits like this I keep it simple with curves, hue/saturation, and sharpening layers.  I cropped the original image to 8×10 and saved for the web.

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Written by Brian Fancher

May 6, 2010 at 6:48 pm

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