June 13, 2008

Portrait Tip - There's just something special about ...

... Northern Exposure. Traditionally, it's the most desirable light for portraits. Apparently the northern sky produces cool, diffused, indirect light composed of the full color spectrum. All the other exposures are, well, .... not all that.

So I did a little experiment the other morning. The first two pictures are with northern exposure light. The last two pictures are southern exposure. They were taken at the same time of day. All were shot in shade.

portrait northern7

(pssst. Here's another quickie tip. Don't make the same mistake that I regularly do: if you use autofocus points (which I highly recommend), then be sure to focus on the eye closest to you, NOT on the eye farthest from you. Doing this will give you a greater likelihood of getting both eyes in focus.)


portrait northern8

portrait southern8

portrait southern9


Hmmm, I definitely like the Northern Exposure lighting better on these. It just seems somehow richer.

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14 comments:

Phyllis said...

Very interesting!
Thank you for your kind comments on my blog, btw. And happy anniversary to you too!

Kat said...

This almost reminds me of the waver between Fuji and Kodak film. I like the colors in your Northern exposure (kinda like how Fuji captured those blues)...but your skin tones are much nicer on the Southern exposure (Kodak is good for skin...Fuji gives 'em more of that blue/green cast).

Rhea said...

The northern exposure does seem a little better. Interesting! Thanks for the tip of focusing on the eye nearest you. I make that mistake sometimes, I think.

Nice pictures!

insane mama said...

I was going to say that I like the Southern light better, They are both great, I need to get a good camera

Leslie said...

He is cute!

tearese said...

You want to work in Northern Light if you're doing artwork too. It makes all the colors look correct. They actually have special lamps you can get that have blue light that is supposed to immitate Northern Light.
I like warm southern light for backlighting though.

Rhonda said...

Thanks for the photo tips. I have wondered about the eye focus and have been meaning to experiment with that.

KatolinFamily said...

Thank you so much for sharing your tips. I am brand new to photography and you explain things in such an easy to understand and practical way!

SKELLER said...

Kat - good analogy...

Insane Mama - digital slr cameras are so. much. fun. even some of the newer point & shoot cameras have greater functionality of aperature & shutter priority modes.

Tearese - interesting :-)

Rhonda - me, too (sheepish grin) ... been meaning to experiment with AND NAIL that eye focus thing!!

Katolinfamily - thanks for the kind words!

MamáChanga said...

Wow, you can really see the difference in the colors. I'm going to have to give that a shot, and thanks for the tip on the eye focus. Right now I'm just trying my best to practice and read my manual. At least you have a willing subject (or he looks willing)!

Meliss said...

Great pointers! Thank you!

Karen R said...

I always knew artist/painters have traditionally used northern exposure windows to light their studios. This brings to mind a favorite movie "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" . But I never understood WHY until I read your explanation! Thanks!

Caroline said...

To me the Northern seems more vibrant and the Southern warmer ~ I prefer the Southern :D Each to their own! :D

Tiffany said...

Thanks for the great tip.....some of my favorite pictures taken in our home are "northern exposure". Even better I was planning on taking portraits of my kids today for dad's valentine gift:)