Project 52: Directional Light {Valentine’s Portraits}

posted in: Children, Personal 2

I missed the last two weeks of my Project 52, but am back again this week for the theme of directional lighting, specifically side lighting. I often use this type of lighting for indoor portraits, so I took this opportunity to do some Valentine’s pictures of my daughter.

To a photographer, the type and direction of the light is key to a beautiful picture. Photographers spend a lot of time studying and analyzing light, and then practicing in different lighting scenarios. A commonly used technique for still life and portraits is side lighting, because it helps show off the angles and definition of the subject. Side light is basically just light coming in towards the subject from the side. This is a much more interesting and often dramatic lighting technique than lighting a subject from the front, as it creates shadows that gives the photo more dimension.

When I found out this week’s theme, I knew right away what I wanted to shoot. It’s early February and that means it is the perfect time to get some Valentine’s photos of my little girl. When I took her Christmas pictures, she had both top front teeth missing, but one of her permanent teeth has since come in, so in addition to wanting pictures of her in her Valentine’s dress, I wanted to document her brand new smile! All these pictures were taken in the exact same spot during a quick 15 minute “session” in the late afternoon next to a window in our home. You can see that the light is brighter on the left side of the photos and the right side is more shadowed. Black and white photography can really enhance and emphasize the lighting in a scene, especially with strong directional lighting, so I included some black and white conversions below. You can see the shadows are much deeper in the black and white images, while I have left the shadows in the color images less pronounced for a softer look.

Child's Valentine's portraits | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

Side lighting is often used for more dramatic portraits, so I tried to get a more serious or moody picture, but my daughter couldn’t hold back a smile. You can even see a hint of teeth peeking through in the black and white below.

Child's Valentine's portraits | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

Be sure to check out the next post in this week’s Project 52 blog circle, from Jude at From My Side of the Lens. Enjoy!

2 Responses

  1. Michele Kendzie
    | Reply

    These are precious! It’s hard for my daughter not to smile too! I enjoy reading your photography mini-lessons; good for reinforcing these ideas in my head.

  2. Kate Testerman
    | Reply

    What a cutie! I love the b&w conversions, but think you got some fantastic Valentine’s shots in the color ones as well.

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