Of eyes and windows

Sophie's Eyes (age 2 months), Maynooth, Ireland, 2009

Here’s another shot of my favourite daughter, taken at the end of last year. Her eye colour, which started off as very undefined, dark grey, is now beautifully converging to an amazing blue. I wonder who she got the genes from for that…

In terms of photography, I photographed her sitting / laying in her favourite vibrating bouncer seat (looks something like this) next to the window, looking outside. This is one of the most classic locations and is pretty much the perfect place for portraiture. Classic, as it initially provided photographers with a strong enough light source for taking photos in the first place (way back in the day when the light sensitive materials were hardly light sensitive at all, by today’s standards). But even before, it has been widely used in painting for instance.

Positioning your subject next to a window (during the day…) provides you with nice soft-box like lighting (no harsh shadows). Also, natural light contains the full spectrum of visible light (as compared to various artificial light sources that just contain a limited and often times fragmented spectrum) — which will get you beautiful, natural colours if that’s what you want. Apart from that, if you position your subject carefully you might also get some nice catch lights in the eyes (that is the reflections you see on the eye and the iris).

You might want to use a reflector though on the other side of the face that’s away from the window so it doesn’t drown in darkness…

Here are two more portraits I took near windows, 1 and 2.

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