After our outdoor forest shoot, we had some time left for a quick session ‘at The Mansion’.
The Mansion is still my favorite location for indoor shooting, since it has so many possibilities. Whatever moment of the day, there’s always a room that has nice light, the building is free-standing, which means that there are windows all around, and some rooms have windows on three sides. So besides choosing my main light source, all I have to check is my own position, the position of my model, in respect to the multiple windows I have around me. I can shoot with a window in my back, and still shoot against the light with the window just in front of me.
On the attic, I have rooms with only a small light, on cloud covered days that becomes very similar to what a softbox would do. On sunny days, I have a light spot on the floor, which reacts as an indirect light, and I still get the ‘softbox’ windowlight. On sunny days I rather not shoot in straight sunlight, because of the huge contrast ratios between sun-lit area’s and shadow areas.
Some images to illustrate my explanations:
1. One of the attic rooms, a single window at the right of my model, cloudy day, no direct sunlight, a door opening just left of the image, you actually see the door at the left side. Gives me enough light to create that small rim light on the hair and body, and it adds just that little extra light on the floor, to make the rest of the body shape stand out.
2. The office: A row of windows left as well as right from the model. Moderate light amount. There is an additional window light just behind the model, above the door. I added the extra bit of artificial light, available in the room. (some small bulbs) The artificial light creates a warm color cast, that can be annoying because the natural light is color neutral or blueish, depending on the weather conditions.
Same location, but I changed position.
Now I’m shooting against the light, but also with the light coming from behind me. The windows are big enough to provide a soft overall light, slightly coming from above, the windows in the back produce a very beautiful contour light all over my model. Note that I position myself in a way that my model is in front of a darker background, otherwise the rim light would get lost. (this was the first picture actually, Fien still has the hairdo from the exterior shoot.)
3. The angels room. Named after a beautiful decoration above the wooden side panels, with angels and flower, …
I have my main window light just behind me, aimed west, this picture was one of the last, so not long before sunset. There’s two more windows on the right, one just behind the model, one a little further away. The window just behind the model was covered with curtains, so only the far right window remains. Again this window helps creating a nice hairlight and ‘sheds a little light’ to the back end of the sofa.
4. The main entrance. Here my model actually stands outside, under the porch covering the entrance to the front door. This is perfect soft light for nice portraits. It is evenly distributed from above and from below, and it prevents hard shadows under the eyebrows. I have no backlight, but the glass in the front door provides a little definition of the hair contours.
5. The stairway. The main light source here is artificial light, coming from above (slightly warm tinted) The rim light is coming from a window behind the model, higher up the wall, spanning from left to right. This gives the nice light on the hair, the side of the head, the cleavage and breast, as well as the wooden pillars. Again mixed light white balance, but to me it is ok.
6. Also taken in the angels room, this time the model is standing where I took picture 3, back to the window, The window is big and high, providing enough light for an overall well lit image. Now we opened the curtains of the opposing window, giving a beautiful fill in light from the left.
To all aspiring model photographers out there, I hope you learnt something from these short explanations.
To all the others, I hope you enjoyed the images.
A big thank you to Fien for her confidence and cooperation. She never posed before, I think she did really well. Above that she’s a charm to work with. A big thank you also to the owners of The Mansion, for giving me continued access to this magnificent building.
see you again soon,