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Digital Portrait Photography and Lighting: Take Memorable Shots Every Time by Sean McCormick, Catherine Jamieson

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Chapter 8. Interior Existing Light Portraiture

Interior Existing Light Portraiture

Existing light is composed of the combination of natural sunlight and artificial lighting found in normal situations outside of the studio. Simply, it is the light that is there when you arrive, before you plug anything in, turn anything on or emit a flash. In fact, the digital photographer is at a particular advantage in mixed light situations because most digital cameras allow you to set the white balance so that you can make the most out of any lighting situation.

There are many portrait situations where the photographer will find the setting or location does not lend itself well to using specialized photography lighting, and other situations in which natural lighting is, in fact, preferred. Natural light can provide depth with a soft, flattering quality that cannot be duplicated with lighting equipment. Not only can an open door or window provide a flattering light source when directed at the subject, it also can offer tremendous opportunities for making interesting, compelling portraits using backlighting and silhouetting techniques (discussed later in the section "Stunning shots using backlight").

Existing light can include street lights, car headlights, traffic lights, table lamps, ceiling lights, firelight, or in the case of a performer, spotlight. For example, a wedding party may ask for shots of them arriving or leaving the church ...

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