New York based portrait photographer, Jeff Rojas, has teamed up with Rogue Photographic Design to demonstrate how he uses window light to effectively capture intimate couple’s portraits. With only a floor-to-ceiling window providing most of the scene’s illumination, Rojas also incorporates a collapsible reflector to add fill in order to avoid any overly deep shadows. He goes through a few variations with a Super Soft Silver reflector, demonstrating the effect the silver side produces, as well as the reflector’s white, softer side. The video is a short watch, but cuts right to the point to effectively showcase Rojas’ approach and philosophy behind it.
Rojas deliberately chose a small hotel room for his location in order to show how a couple’s session can be done with only available light and minimal equipment. The day was overcast, creating a soft and even illumination throughout the room. In order to add more light back into the scene, he utilized a collapsible reflector instead of artificial light due to it’s size and subtlety. He mentions he prefers for his clients to feel like he’s not even there and the reflector helps due to its unobtrusive nature. Depending on the type of lighting he’s looking for, he will also position his subjects in different ways. At one point he has them facing the window for a more frontal direction of the light, and at another point the window is 90 degrees in relation to the subject, creating a nice side lighting which he fills in with the reflector.
I love minimalistic approaches to portraiture. It can be quite easy to get caught up in the hoopla of having multiple flashes and the most extensive range of gear at your disposal. However, many of the most iconic photographs throughout the history of photography have often been done with the fewest of resources. Rojas’ approach to the lighting is spot on. By choosing to use natural light, he doesn’t have to fuss much with equipment and spends more time engaging his subjects. This allows him to direct his subjects and capture believable, intimate images although they are in fact not a real couple. The resulting images are emotive, beautifully captured, and all done with just a window and a reflector. See, you don’t need tons of equipment to get great images!