Low light interior portraits ~ Pictures and technique

Feb 7, 2010 | Location | 3 comments

With Hannah pointed into the wind

With Hannah pointed into the wind, I shot from below using a Nikon D700 and a 200mm lens. ISO 320, 1/60th at f/4 with the camera on a monopod. A fairly bright covered zone kept us out of the rain and in wonderful natural light.

My shooting workshops start in March each year for a reason. Three months from the shortest day gives me a whole day’s shooting and a bit of natural light to utilise in the covered areas and interiors on my shoot routes. If all my delegates owned a D3, D700 or 5D mk2 then I could shoot undercover all year round. It gets a bit nippy for the models at times but modern cameras come alive in the dark of winter.

One of my 1:1 delegates last week wanted to learn how to realise the potential of his Nikon D700 with a set of f/2.8 lenses in natural light. So I set up a three hour natural light shoot with Hannah and the rest of the day was spent fine tuning his business systems and profitability. It rained, it was dark and it was windy – perfect!

Turning the whole situation round so that the wind was behind Hannah it is clear to see the movement

Turning the whole situation round so that the wind was behind Hannah it is clear to see the movement in her hair caused by the slow shutter speed. It is worth noting that we were shooting at about 2 stops more exposure than the camera would have given if it was left to it's own devices in Aperture Priority. 1/40th at f/3.5

It's all about timing in situations like this. Rock steady camera using a monopod and

It's all about timing in situations like this plus a rock steady camera on a monopod. 1/40th second at f/3.5

High key shots in low light was my next tutorial session. ISO 1000,

Here are a few high key shots taken in very low natural light. We shot at ISO 1000, 1/50th second at f/3.2

Identical exposure to the shot above

Identical exposure to the shot above. The dreamy processing makes a change to my usual straight colour treatment.

The third of these colour frames shows a bit more of our surroundings. The walls behind Hannah are grey, mid grey.

The third of these colour frames shows a bit more of our surroundings. The walls behind Hannah are grey, mid grey. ISO 1000, 1/50th at f/3.2 Nikon D700 with a 70-200mm at 200mm.

It was dustbin day and we were sheltering from the rain.

It was dustbin day and we were sheltering from the rain.

Another simple shot but with wonderful results. Knowing how to find great light on an overcast winter day is one of the key

Another simple shot but with wonderful results. I taught how to find and expose great light on an overcast winter day.

We then went to my usual cafe / restaurant for a spot of lunch and I showed how to shoot 'cafe' portraits.

We then went to my usual cafe / restaurant for a spot of lunch and I showed how to shoot 'cafe' portraits with a close proximity providing intimacy. Nikon D700, ISO 1600, 1/40th second at f/3.2

I just nabbed this still life in passing before we started our 'dark bar' session. You never know when a shot like this on a canvas or acrylic might just lift a space

I just nabbed this still life in passing before we started our 'dark bar' session. You never know when a shot like this on a canvas or acrylic might just lift the space it's hung in.

ISO 2500 for this shot and the Nikon is still going strong. I could see this high ISO shot looking great as a 60" x 60" print. We have reached an amazing situation with regard sensitivity and picture quality.

We were up to ISO 2500 for this shot and the Nikon is still going strong. I can easily imagine this high ISO shot looking great as a 60" x 60" print. We have reached an amazing situation with regard to 35mm sized sensor sensitivity and picture quality.

This moment was all about the cheek triangle of light and how to use it. All these shots were created with the ambient light that was around us.

This moment was all about the cheek triangle of light and how to use it. All these shots were created with the ambient light that was around us.

Another square shot

Another square shot taken at ISO 1600, 1/60th second at f/2.8

A great low angle frame adds drama to Hannah's look.

A low camera angle adds drama to Hannah's look in this frame. ISO 1250, 1/50th second at f/3.2

Careful placement has given Hannah a perfect rim light from distant windows.

Careful camera placement has given Hannah a perfect rim light from the distant windows.

If you want to join me on a 1:1 shoot session tailored exactly to your needs or a business training session or indeed a mixture of the two give Blaise a ring on 01275 853204 for more information and prices etc. I have full Canon and Nikon kits and speak both languages.

Please feel free to comment on these shots below.

3 Comments

  1. damien

    Hi Derek and Will. Thanks guys. Damien.

    Reply
  2. Will Pateman Photography

    Love the blurred hair..just proves great shots can be taken all year round and can still have a great warmth about them

    Reply
  3. Derek mc auley

    Fantastic refresher to everything I learned
    from you before, stunning model love the dreamy look at +2 stops. Beautifully composed shots. Derek

    Reply

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