Mimicking Sunlight Streaming Through a Window for Portraits

Have you ever noticed the patterns of light and shadows that are formed on the walls when the sun creeps into a room? They surely look amazing and are great for photography. But the problem is that they don’t last very long due to the relative movement of the sun. Also, they may or may not be there when you plan your shoot. How awesome would it be if you could have this kind of light in the room on demand? Photographer Daniel Norton from Adorama has just the trick for you to mimic natural light:

In order to pull the trick off, Norton uses an HMI light with a framing shutter to control the shape of the beam.

“An HMI is a daylight balanced constant light source. It’s daylight balanced, and a clean source of light.”

By using a framing shutter, Norton is able to shape the light so that it appears as if the light is entering through a skylight, or a window.

using HMI light to mimic sunlight

If you don’t have a framing shutter, you can use cards or foam cords. Just move them around to get the perfect look. It will be a lot of work, but is still doable.

studio portrait mimicking natural light

If you turn off the lights in the room, the light will appear much cleaner and crisper, but it won’t feel natural.

portrait with studio lights turned off

With studio lights turned off

In case you don’t have lights on the ceiling, you can use flash by bouncing it off the ceiling. This adds a really good natural touch to the final result.

“The light that you want is not always there for you. Sometimes, you gotta make it.”

So, don’t let the unavailability of natural light get in the way of your work. Understand how natural light works, and that will really help you in creating it when you need it.

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