Candid Portrait With Natural Light

Candid Portrait With Natural Light (150mm, f/2.8, 1/125s)

Just a quick post before the weekend. I’ve been working all evening and decided to take a break. The shot of my daughter above was taken on a whim — pure candid. It has a posed look (I may have told her where to direct her eyes) but I took it while waiting for my son to get ready for some pics (see his dramatic profile here). Two of my daughters were in our music room — that’s what we’ve turned our formal living room into — playing the piano and singing. The afternoon light was just right for these shots as there was no direct light coming in, but plenty of ambient light from the outdoors. You can see a reflection of the window in her eyes which gives a reasonable catchlight. You also see a silhouette which appears as though it might be the photographer (me). It’s actually a harp which is in front of the window. Might have moved it had I noticed it in the reflection. That’s one reason that I’d shoot tethered (camera attached to a computer and images going straight to the display for those who aren’t familiar with “tethering” in the photography sense) if I were doing serious studio photography. It allows you to more readily see these sorts of things and adjust on the fly. These weren’t serious pictures anyway.

I like the angle of the shot. My daughter was standing at the piano, I was kneeling nearby. It’s not an angle that I’d choose typically but because the underside of her chin ended up in total shadow I really like it. I got lucky with the fact that I didn’t go far enough toward the full profile such that her nose stuck out past the far cheek. I frankly never thought about it while snapping the shots.

One other thing I’d change if I were doing this over — I’d stop down just a bit. I like the out-of-focus look of the far eye and cheek, but I’d prefer the lips to be entirely in focus (or very close). No biggy, I still like the shot. Not bad for just fooling around with candids. Upon closer examination I’m sure I could find all sorts of things “wrong” with it.

For processing I mainly did a bit clarity reduction on the skin in Lightroom, exposure adjustments, contrast adjustments, and whitening of the eyes. I don’t like to overdo the skin touch-up thing — it looks too fake IMO. I didn’t do any spot-healing, etc. There was a tad bit of the background which was exposed enough to show up in the image but I made that black by lowering the exposure with an adjustment brush in Lightroom.

Hope you like it. I love it, but of course I’m biased.


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