Portraits & Glamour under Unavailable Light

1/20 sec at f/4 and ISO 800

When you look at photographs of people in magazines, books, newspapers, or on your iPad do you notice how some images grab your attention? These special photographs force you to take a second look and you may even wonder how it was made.  Sometimes your best portraits will be made with available light, unavailable light, available darkness, low light, or whatever euphemism you prefer to use. It doesn’t matter what you call any of these challenging lighting conditions but the truth is that there’s something rewarding about the process.

  • First, there is the thrill of overcoming technical obstacles that normally prevent you from producing a well-exposed image.
  • Second, photographs made under conditions different from the “f/16 and the sun over your right shoulder” instruction-sheet standard have a more eye-catching look.
  • Third, since most photographs are made during the middle of the day, taking the time to search out other than “normal” lighting conditions can produce photographs that will make yours look truly different from the rest of the pack. And that’s just outdoors. Just as challenging can be the prospect of working indoors under a combination different kinds of light sources.

Shooting portraits under the kind of mixed industrial lighting conditions that you typically encounter in factories are a challenge too. The available light image at the top of the page was shot in a fire truck factory.

Author: Joe Farace

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