If you could see my garage, you would know why it may not be the first place someone would think of when trying to find a place to set up for great photos.
Well, you will get to see my garage in just a second when I bravely show you a pull back that includes tons of moving boxes that still aren’t unpacked from the last move. But, unpacking isn’t the point here.
Finding good light is the point. And, isn’t it wonderful that sometimes good light can be found in unexpected places. Typically I use my garage for food photography because I am not worried about catch lights in the eyes so I can leave the big garage door down which keeps the boxes hidden from the neighbors (and still get really great light) and use the light from a window in my garage. The image below was shot in my garage with a piece of white foam board a few feet behind the chair. The eggs were facing the windows behind my back as I took the shot.
But, I really, really love the nice light that comes from opening the garage door and placing my subject at the edge of the garage. For the image below I had my son sitting on a chair (actually his choice and also the chair used above for the eggs…I guess it was the chair of the day) right at the edge of the garage.
This had him covered by the garage overhang and completely in the shade of the garage. I propped up a large piece of white foam board behind him for an impromptu backdrop. In the pullback below you can even see my thunder gray seamless that I was too lazy to pull out. For this image I wanted a bright light feel to it. I wanted it to feel happy and I wanted to eliminate shadows. When I was shooting it, I was already thinking that I would leave this image in color when I edited it.
He is looking at a brightly colored book and having fun so I wanted that to be reflected in the portrait. I also had another piece of white foam board to his left to reflect some light back onto his face. You can see a pullback of where I had him sitting in the image below (just ignore all the boxes).
When he would look up at me I could see the light in his eyes and I knew I had the shot that I wanted. I shot this as a RAW file and I used my Expodisc to custom set the WB and this helped give me really great color SOOC as you can see in the image below. In Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) I adjusted the exposure just a tad (+0.15), bumped up the brightness to lift the midtones to +54 (from the default of +50), increased clarity to + 8, decreased blacks to +0, then decreased the shadows to -13 and decreased the darks to -6 to add some contrast. Quick and easy. I didn’t need to sharpen or touch his eyes because of the natural light shining in from the garage set up.
Just to illustrate how you can create a completely different effect in the same setting by altering just a few details I also wanted to show this second image I took. Same day, same time, and the same place. For this image, I told my subject he could stand on the chair. This got him up above all the boxes so that there wasn’t anything behind him until you get to the very back wall of the garage. It also provided a much darker background with lots of great shadows behind him. If he had given me more of a pout than a smile it could be a much moodier image than the one above.
In ACR I did minor changes just like with the other photo but this time I really increased the shadows & darks so that the background is much more solid behind him and covered up some of the shadows of objects that may have been there as a distraction (like a ladder behind him). You can get creative with the lighting, your angles of shooting, and the backgrounds all right there in your garage.
What locations do you have at your house that you can use to get great light and offers more than one type of image? Go lift your garage door and start there!
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