Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Gentle Beauty"

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"Gentle Beauty"
©David A. Ziser

I love finding beautiful window light for bridal portraits – nothing to turn on, plug in, or adjust.  Just position the bride next to the window, turn her head to the light, check the contrast and shoot away.  That’s how this easy portrait came together.

We were working at the Cincinnati Club in downtown Cincinnati, OH, a very popular venue for weddings.  On the first floor of the club are four huge windows that lend themselves to these kind of portraits.  Also on site are the oriental dividers you see behind the bride.  The combination of soft light and the oriental flavor the dividers add to the scene makes for a beautiful bridal portrait.

When working with window light, you need to control the contrast of the scene too.  I needed to do that for this image.  If I had positioned the bride too close to the window, the lighting ratio from highlight to shadow would have been too severe or way too contrasty. 

The easy fix is to move the subject away from the window if possible.  We had plenty of space to work so I positioned the bride about 10 feet from the window.  That reduced the amount of highlight illumination substantially.  The shadows always remain the same as the ambient shadow illumination is a product of all the light bouncing around the room and does not change much as you move your subject closer or farther from the window.

I thought we struck a good balance her and captured a beautiful result.

Camera specs: Canon 7D fitted with 18-200mm IS lens at 100mm, F5.6 @ 1/15 second handheld, ISO 1600.  Enjoy! –David


  1. David, how in the world do you hand hold at 1/15th consistently? The IS helps, but I'm lucky to keep it clean at a 30th...:)

  2. David, I don't know how you get such good results at 1/15 shutter speed. Even with VR on a lens. You must have a steady hand. Maybe you could do a short tutorial on 'how to hold your camera' for best results in low lighting or shutter speeds of less than 1/60. Love your blog. Great work! Thanks, Tyler