Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Role of Good Lighting In Portraitures

Twitter
Do you have a favorite picture of yourself? Browsing my pictures through the years last night made me realize that there is one thing in common with my Profile pictures. Those pictures were all taken outdoors.
Me @ Owens River Gorge, Bishop, CA
 Even though most of my profile pictures have natural scenery in the background, but the natural scenery is not the major reason why the pictures landed in my favorites. Unlike most of my shots where I focus on the wonderful gifts of nature that I see, my criteria for choosing portrait pictures of me is not the scenery, but "ME". I admit I do have some room for vanity. :)

Me @ Carlsbad Flower Fields, San Diego County, CA
What makes however my outdoor portraits stand out to me is the natural lighting in them. Take for example the picture of me below taken at Sea World. Despite having no natural scenery in the background, it still is one of my favorites.
Me at Sea World, San Diego, CA 
What is common among the three pictures above is that they were all taken in natural light which they say brings out the best of everyone's natural look. It does not mean however we can't look good at all indoors. After all, don't we go to the photo studio whenever we need a photo that we believe would bring out the best in us? At the studio, they use powerful lights that would make us glow, aside of course from the poses they made us do and the angles they use in taking our photos. But can't we take these pictures at home to save us some money? Daytime with full sunlight is probably the best time for us to take indoor photos because we could open all windows to bring in natural lighting. But at night? With make-up? I look horrific a lot of the times! :( The ordinary flash of the camera would make the color so unnatural, unless of course we do have those expensive flash camera used by portrait photographers. But what if you do not have flash in your camera like me to aid in taking pictures at low light conditions?
Self portrait, at home in dim light without flash
( aperture= f4 at max, shutter speed= 1/13 seconds, ISO = 1600 ) 
What I do is I set the aperture opening at the widest possible for the lens. I set the shutter speed the longest possible where the subject could still hold their smile or their motion so they will not appear like a ghost. I increase the ISO level of the camera to a point where it allows more light but will not yet yield a grainy picture. I can't rely on automatic settings of camera because it would use a longer shutter speed usually in dim light that would result to blurred images. Now,can we manipulate the light settings in our webcam? The answer for most of us, sadly is a "NO"! Whenever we skype or video chat, we wish we see better the person we are talking to instead of seeing more darkness. How we wish there is a Skype light that would brighten the surrounding. Thankfully, technology evolves. These days, there is actually a chat light that can be installed to any computer systems. It allows a better and more natural illumination in webcams. It will work in any computer monitor, iPad and tablets because of its wide compatibility. I remember the times where my brother asked me, "sis, are you in candle light?" Haha, imagine my frustration during those times when web cam lighting was at its poorest. :( With chat light installed in web cam, skype can be as joyful as it can be!
Me with LA Skyline @ night, I just have to control my movement here since this was shot at long shutter speed to increase the light in the picture
With skype light, we no longer are in the dim. 
Enjoying Life Out of the Doors, Glacier Hiking, AK
Thus we can enjoy indoor video chatting with our loved ones, friends and family far away as much as we see clearly and enjoy life out of the doors!
♥♥
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19 comments:

  1. I loved your descriptions. Smile can add the beauty...

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  2. I agree! Technology indeed evolved! I did realize lately that Skype have that lighting features now. Even the videos uploaded in Youtube! Believe me, you can now customize your own videos on youtube this time around!

    Thanks for sharing some tips about what to adjust on the camera for night shots! I'm not a pro so I really didn't have any idea. LOL! I can make use of the tips soon! tc!

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  3. i so agree with the natural light giving us the natural glow and natural color Beth. i love taking portraits of K and G under natural light. :)

    LOL on the candle light. thanks to skype light indeed. :D

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  4. indoor or outdoor you got the smiles to make the picts perfect :)

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  5. Indoor or outdoor, you got the perfect smiles to make the clicks perfect :P

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  6. The self portrait looks very different from the usual you. That is my "feeling".

    I love natural light especially that in the early morning, and I try not to use flash the best I can.

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  7. i love to see the natural scenery you have all the time.. very lucky of you to have it and love to see what you have experienced as well

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  8. Love all your photos especially the one taken at Sea World, if I remember correctly, your hubby took it right?

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  9. Kahit saan nman siguro, good lighting is a focal ingredient sa photography. Sis, nakita ko na naman photo mo sa LA Skyline. I like it much. Siguro Sis, sa akin soccer filed lights ang kailangan, nognog me eh.

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  10. It's nice to know that lighting tip Betchai! I'm not one who's good with camera and I can't even figure out how to use an SLR. Great snaps btw!

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  11. I like the one with the snow Betchai, although, I know what you mean about the outdoor photos. They are much more detailed.

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  12. I didn't know there is already such thing as Skype light! :) I have sisters that lives in Australia and Ireland and it gets me frustrated when they say my video is blurry when we do skype. I might check on that teh Beth the next time we do skype. I love all your photos as always!!!:)

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  13. ;-) pag nagpapa picture ako chinicheck ko muna kung ano background ko. hehehe. tapos don mismo sa kinatatayuan ko pinapatayo yung kumukuha, para di ako ma diappoint. at the best talaga yung me sun diba? the best ang lighting.

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  14. wow, that's good know, i need to know more about that skype lighting, we need it. hehehe! anyway, love all your pics, it seems different you on your pictures inside, hehehe...o baka nga sanay lang po ako na puro makita pictures mo with natures around. :)

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  15. I just love looking at your outdoor pictures...you look gorgeous!

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  16. My favorite is your photo with the LA Skyline. Very youthful. :)

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  17. .....awesome tips from the photographer who inspired me to click and click :) now I can not make up my mind as to which is my favorite photo of you...I just feel so lucky to have met and spent sometime with you in person :) this reminds me of our worldwideweb conferences way back friendster days haha, wish we could skype too sometime....hmmmm on second thought...my favorite is still that blue photo...you in a blue dress wearing a lovely hat with the blue water background taken by Khai :) love yah :D

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  18. i am a fan of natural lighting. i suck at external flash. some of my friends told me that natural light is more difficult as you can't adjust it. but yeah, i am into natural lighting. eversince and will be

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  19. Beautiful. Me and my husband also admire the effect of natural light in photos. Well done.

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!