Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Indoor Garden Portraits

We had a few inches of snow last night. It is now raining and ice is hanging from the trees. I am SO not a winter person. By New Year's eve I have had enough of winter. By February and March I am dragging. I am ready for gardening, outdoor garden portraits and sunshiny pictures!
While stuck inside I try to bring a little sunshine indoors. I sometimes head to my favorite local flower shop, The Flower Cart, here in Bedford and purchase a nice bouquet to play with and photograph. I set up still lifes (which I'll talk about tomorrow) and use some for self portraits and portraits of others. I always try to include flowers in any portraits I do, either indoor or out. It's becoming a trademark of sorts I suppose.

When including flowers in portraits, I try to pick ones that match the season or the mood of the photographs. Kids with great big sunflowers are fun in the late summer. Dark roses for a romantic feeling indoors are nice. Perhaps I should try including the symbolism of the flowers, which I talked about a few days ago, in my portraits too.

When photographing portraits indoors, I try to use natural light. I like using two corner windows as a backdrop to light both sides of the subject. I do not have a traditional light set up and on dark days I use a flash and/or my sunlamp. The light emits a soft yellow when it is covered with a see through white cloth. I find this ideal for dramatic lighting. I've included today a portrait of my daughter, taken for her first piano recital, using the sunlamp.

To further enhance the garden portrait feel, I set the scene with appropriate cloth backdrops and wraps and "garden" clothes (which can be anything from a fancy dress to overalls). One doesn't necessarily need a fancy studio setup and props for portraits. Pay attention to details. Check out your background. Make sure there is no clutter and that the background is not busy. Add elements (such as flowers) that evoke the mood you are trying to capture. To bring in the feel of the garden, pay most attention to your light. A dark portrait or one that has obvious flash burn screams "indoor portrait" and does not make one think about gardens.

No comments: