Of Berries and Backlighting

I've said it time and time again: window light just plain rocks. I love working with it.  In most cases, I use it as my main light and supplement artificial sources to act as fill and trim.  This keeps the scene looking as natural as possible.  (However, because window light isn't as bright as the artificial options, shutter speeds can be quite lengthy.)

Backlighting is a beautiful way to light a subject - I find I naturally gravitate towards it.  However, backlighting can leave you with a lot of shadow, possibly obscuring key details.  But, there are ways around it.

My little studio's east facing window was filled with deliciously, warm sun light.  This gives me a semi-faster shutter speed than a sun-free window would have.  To break down the sun's harshness, I put up a diffuser over the window.


I like it, but not crazy about it.  The front of the main subject has a wee bit too much shadow to my liking.  Short from breaking down the wall and installing a larger window, which would 'wrap' around my subject more, I must manipulate the light a bit.

Putting up two pieces of foamcore on either side of the strawberries filled in the offending shadows.


Here's the setup:

[caption id="image_150" align="aligncenter" width="950" caption="Diffusion screen covering window; two white pieces of foamcore for bounce"]Diffusion screen covering window; two white pieces of foamcore for bounce[/caption]

This would certainly pass as acceptable, but let's have a little fun with it - maybe something better will come along?

[caption id="image_155" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Foamcore only on camera left; nothing camera right"]Foamcore only on camera left; nothing camera right[/caption]

[caption id="image_154" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Foamcore camera right; nothing camera left"]Foamcore camera right; nothing camera left[/caption]

[caption id="image_156" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="foamcore directly above, reflecting downwards"]foamcore directly above, reflecting downwards[/caption]

Alternating the position of the foamcore resulted in a few subtely different results.  Personally, I'm a fan of the middle one - the one with the foamcore only on the right.  This gave the strawberry a more rounded appearance.  The last one, although brighter, looks like it was filled in too much.

The key is: experimentation.   You never know what results you will get!

Here's one more with it's setup:


I used a strobe for this shot.  Can you spot it?