I shot this cute Craftsman a few months ago and thought it would be fun exercise to break down the shot. In Seattle for the majority of the year we get these gorgeous, overcast days that make shooting interiors absolutely perfect (exteriors is another story). When you have a nice cloud cover the ambient light is so perfectly even that it makes lighting a house a breeze!
This particular day, though, was a rare sunny summer morning. I was getting a lot of very direct, very harsh sunlight through the large window in the living room. On top of that, the composition I was pretty foolish. But! I went for it anyway!
Let’s set this up:
So here’s the composition. I wanted to feature the Living Room while also showing the relationship of the Dining Room. There’s a large window to my left which is giving me some harsh direct sun. The Dining Room has a large window but it wasn’t doing me any favors, unfortunately. I had to make a decision about how much I was willing to let the couch blow out. The other challenge I was having was that there were enough clouds outside that as soon as I figured out my shutter speed and flash placement the entire ambient level of the room would change. Frustrating!
In the end I decided the blown couch didn’t bother me enough to stress out about it. Everyone knows what the couch looks like and, really, the pattern on the pillow isn’t going to make or break a deal. I gave myself an extra stop to bring the overall ambient up a smidge, mostly because I was worried about that Dining Room.
Okay now we introduce lights. I’ve got one SB80 at CR for the living room. I didn’t need much, just enough to balance out my color. It was probably around a weak 1/4 (that’s 1/4 power -.3). The Dining Room had one SB80 bounced into the wall at right at full power.
I dragged the shutter a bit on this one. I’m not sure why I did that other than this might have been where the clouds moved in (or out) and I had to readjust camera settings. There’s obviously more ambient on this one because I’ve lost my color fidelity. Also I’ve introduced some flash reflections in the photos above the couch. No bueno.
Okay, here’s the final image. Adjusted the LR light to avoid the reflection, cleaned up the shadows it was causing (that was done in Photoshop), added an extra flash at full power in the DR and also added a flash in the hallway beyond the DR.
Because of all that sun and the ambient tone of the room was pretty warm I was sure to shoot with a color checker card on this shoot. The combination of wall color, CFLs and sunlight always make for an interesting ambient room tone. I always keep my XRite with me for just these occasions.
Okay, that’s more words than I’ve written in this blog all year. Hope you found it interesting! :)