Okay, this was a quick experiment. As in, I told my kids it would take 5 minutes, but it maybe took 3. They had been fighting, so they owed me a few minutes of cooperation.
I’ll preface this by saying…quite often I look at beautiful blogs done by moms and I get envious. I wonder how they do it all. They have prettily styled homes, beautiful photos, they craft and do three million and one things that always turn out great, and they look good while doing it. How do they do it?! I know they probably can’t, but they sure make it look like they can. This post will pretty much sum up that you can’t think that about me. I can’t do it all and I can’t fake it. And I won’t. If I’m spending time with my kids, the bed is unmade. If I’m taking photos, I don’t do my makeup (well, I rarely wear makeup). If I’m painting the bathroom, then my bedroom is a disaster. If I’m washing slipcovers, then they’ll be drying in my house. I can’t do it all. So please excuse the not styled photos I’m going to include here. I know blogs are suppose to have pretty photos and look good, but I’m not going to lie. This is real life for me and probably others. And yes, I didn’t make my bed. I was just going to sleep in it again and no one was coming over.
Well, after that long explanation where I think I needed to explain myself (and I probably don’t), let’s get on with the experiment. I’m showing a couple of different ways to get catchlights in eyes while indoors. Did you happen to catch the post on catchlights? That one has way prettier pictures than this one. That one told about catchlights, this post is showing how to achieve them in different ways in my home. You’ll have to try your home and see what you get. This was all with natural light, I’ll save flash light for another experiment.
My daughter was my model. My son was the “behind the scenes” photographer. He got way too many of my rear, which I’ve promptly deleted. I’m going to show the pullback photo first and then show you a close up photo of my little model so you can see the catchlights in her eyes that occurred from the scene. I’ve even put in little white arrows for your viewing benefit. This is a full-service photo rambling blog here, I roll out the red carpet with lights. All of these photos are straight out of camera (SOOC). No editing. Well, except for those arrows.
First up: My south facing bedroom. I love that window. The girl is facing the window.
The results: Gorgeously big catchlight in her baby blues. Sniff, sniff. My baby lost a baby tooth on the top.
Second: Facing away from the window, towards a wall. That would be backlighting.
The results: Not much. No discernible catchlights.
Third: Facing away from the window again. This time with a white reflector. (I used the gold side to see where the light was hitting her face and then flipped it to the white in the same position).
The results: Eh. A little bit of a catchlight, but nothing that really stands out at you. Same camera settings as before and you can see how the skin tone has changed with putting a white reflector up. It puts more light on her skin.
Fourth: Facing away from the window again. This time I had the model hold up a white foam board.
The results: Look carefully. You’ll see a rectangular shape at the bottom of her eye. That’s the foam board reflecting and making a small catchlight. That looks funny to me the more I look at it. We should have tried it up to the side, but the model insisted on holding the board.
Fifth: Dining room/kitchen. A large west facing window on her left side and a bank of windows at her face. Yes, the blackboard still says “Happy Father’s Day.” We’re not quick around here. And apparently the flash went off on our point and shoot camera, I can see it’s reflection in the window.
The results: Zowie! Lots of catchlights, maybe too many! Can you count them all? Oh my, I really should cut her bangs tomorrow.
The winner: Well, that’s up to you. The beauty of photography is that it is art and art is in the eye of the beholder. So what you think is a winner might not be what someone else thinks is a winner. I personally like the one in my master bedroom, that’s probably why I shoot all my indoor photo sessions in there. I like that big catchlight. The one facing away from the window is the worst. That just goes to show you, if you can’t get a catchlight…use something as a reflector. You don’t need a fancy photographer reflector …grab some foam board, a poster board, those car sun blocking shades, something to bounce light back.
And for all you parents who just want to take a better photo of your kid to send to Grandma…..Have the kid face a window. It even works with a point and shoot camera or your cellphone. That’s the lesson learned from this experiment….face the light. Now I need to remember that tomorrow.
How do you get catchlights with natural light? Anyone else going to experiment in their home?