I’m Simone Ballerini a professional photographer based in Florence. You can find my work at www.simoneballerini.com
I specialize in maternity, family and kids photography and this is part two of the shooting we discussed last week.
Done with the outdoor session we decided to move indoors for the last quiet portraits of the couple and some picture of the soon to be mom by herself.
When shooting indoors we are presented with a lot of challenges both of technical and aesthetic nature.
We need light, of course (remember photography means writing with light) and we need to find a nice, meaningful spot to place our subject in.
The main source of light in a house or a general building is coming from the sun pouring through the windows.
Even if it is cloudy outside or there’s a storm coming you still have a lot of light coming through shining on your rooms and reveling forms and details.
This could be beautiful, rich, free light absolutely gorgeous for portraits or many types of photography.
With window light you can run into two options: the first one is when you have a window on a wall facing north or south (or east in the afternoon). This way you have no direct sun coming through and all the light outside is filtered by the frame of the window resulting in a directional soft light very gentle with the shape of a human body or details for a still life or food photo.
In these pictures I posed the couple at the end of a long studio room. We had the entire wall at camera right completely covered by windows so plenty of late afternoon warm light is coming in from that direction.
This kind of set up reveals a lot of details and enhances the forms of the bump, faces and clothes because the light coming in from the side is lightning the left side of the subjects leaving the right side in shade.
Sunset and late afternoon is the perfect time for taking pictures with a warm intimate feeling with the light coming from the sun becoming warmer just before fading to the blue and black of the night.
The second scenario you can find yourself in when dealing with window light is direct sun coming through.
In this pictures I had the setting sun directly in the frame of a small window in the living room, the perfect call for a backlit portrait with mood and some attitude.
I asked the couple to sit on the floor and just talk. Soon they started to connect more and reach for each other forgetting about the camera and me, reveling a soft and natural moment of their relationship.
Direct sun produces very strong and unflattering shadows making it hard to handle if you don’t know how to make it works.
As with the sun on an outdoor portrait you have to pose your subject correctly deciding whether to put the sun behind, on a side on even in front of her.
I almost didn’t see the cat laying on the window staring at the couple inside. It was an happy accident that gives the picture something more.
On the aesthetic side you can either photograph your subject in a friendly and pleasing environment or decide to avoid all the distractions and go for a plain solid color background using a wall, the sky or a canvas.
If you decide to put your sitter in an environment you need to be carful to chose the right one for the message you’re try to communicate. Sometimes removing pieces of furniture or simply moving your angle of view is enough to hide something unwanted and have a clearer shot.
In these pictures I had a window on the right and decided to add meaning with props and composition.
For the first one I placed a tiny pair of pink shoes on the bump of the future mom deciding to include in the frame part of the couch and the pictures on the wall to lock down the photo in a specific environment, in this case the living room.
In the second photo instead I removed as many element as possible to emphasize the pose of legs and feet, cutting out the upper part of the body to let the bump emerge from the black of the floor.
Having some energy left we let go of all the romance and posing for a fun final portrait. With the help of the last light from the sun and a pencil we wrote the word beer and baby on the bellies of the couple and shot a couple of frames.
Sometimes all the thinking and planning in the world can’t make for the spontaneity and the fun of a true moment captured in between your direction or the moment you’re waiting for.
There’s so much in photography of the unexpected, happy accidents and moments of truth, we just need to be ready and curious about life in all its manifestations.
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