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Photography Question 
Angela Carter

Shooting Pictures of a Subject in Window

I want to take pictures of my children looking out a window (in this case, searching the sky for Santa). Does anyone have any special techniques to try when shooting through glass? I tried it tonight, but I think I waited until it was too dark. I'm thinking I need to try it at pre-dusk to give me a little more light on their faces. Any tips would be appreciated.

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12/17/2004 8:07:31 PM

Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/18/2004
Are you using any kind of outside light source to illuminate your children? You can an off-camera flash, or a set of hot lights. If you have a set of halogen shop lights you can use them to add light to your subjects. You can also add light to the interior to help illuminate them.
Or make use of the magic time to capture the images with natural light. You have a about ten minutes after sundown to shoot. You will need a tripod, because the time you will be shooting will be slower than a thirtieth of a second. I would suggest that you use a polarizing filter. The filter can be used to cut the glare from the glass of the windows.
Now for shooting the scene. Set up your halogen lights outside to illuminate your children, at a high angle and from the direction of the sun. If you have a second set of lights, set them up in the room behind the children and out of sight of the camera. Turn the lights up towards the ceiling so you get even illumination throughout the room. Now set up your camera so you see the children’s faces. Take a light reading, and make the necessary adjustments to your camera. Make sure your camera is in manual mode so you can be make adjustments when you bracket your shots. Start shooting about ten minutes after sundown until it is pitch black. In each of your shots, shoot one exposure one stop over, one on, and one stop under. Example: Your meter reads 1/10 of second at f/11. Shoot 1/10 at f/16, one at 1/10 at f/11, and your last shot should be 1/10 at f8. This is more than you ever wanted to know about how to shoot your kids, looking out the window, but if you take the time to set it up, you will have a great Christmas card picture for years.
Hope these ideas are helpful.
Good shooting, Doug

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12/18/2004 2:55:36 AM

Angela Carter   Thank you so much, Doug. I do have a set of studio lights. I'm thinking I can just turn the modeling lights on and use that. By the way, you didn't give me too much information ... usually it's the other way around! My main problem now is finding a night when I'll be home at the right time. 'Tis the season! Happy Holidays, and thanks again!

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12/18/2004 4:37:52 AM

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