Brother & Sister in the Foyer









Tech Info:

Handheld Nikon D200, 28-70mm f2.8 Nikkor zoom set to 28mm, and f3.5, 1/125th sec., ISO1000, B/W Jpeg, normal parameters, manual exposure mode. To arrive at a quick metering starting point, I took a through the lens meter reading of part of the floor that didn’t contain the really bright highlights. After a test shot and viewing the histogram and my LCD screen (indoors I actually think the LCD helps me hone in on exposures in hurried situations), I futher adjusted my settings to get the children looking a bit dark, but light enough to keep things interesting in the shadows. Knowing ahead of time that I didn’t mind the windows white-ing out helped me interpret the histogram, which of course showed overexposure.


21 thoughts on “Brother & Sister in the Foyer

  1. Lauren

    Love how the arch is framing them and even more how the light is accentuated on the arch to add more attention as it brings you into their world of interaction.  Also…wish there was a little box, like on flickr to ask a question though…hehe.

  2. Danielle

    Oh I love this one! Beautiful lovely natural mood! I think that is what I love about your work so natural!

  3. Sherri Baker

    Definitely one of my favorite B&W’s to date. Love the mood and the richness of this shot. Incredible and inspiring-that is all I can say.

  4. Nancy Giroux

    Lovely capture! The composition is perfect!
    I have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind.

    I noticed this is shot at iso 1000. How does the D200 handle noise at that level? How big would you enlarge an image shot at iso 1000? Do you use noiseware when you go that high?

    Thanks Eddie!

  5. Tiffany

    gorgeous…thank you for the Tech info…I really wonder how to do backlight like this without blowing out the window. Thanks so much.

  6. Tiffany

    Eddie, did you notice the hanger there? =) I really love the image…can’t wait to try this tech info procedure.

  7. eddie Post author

    Thank you, everyone.

    Lauren, I really like your comment on how the rim light on the arch is framing them. Such are the bonuses when working in backlight situations, right?  By the way, please ask questions when you feel like it.  Ü
    Danielle, thanks. I’m glad you are picking up on the natural feel of the images, since this is an aim that is foremost in my mind when shooting and editing.

    Thank you, Sherri!

    Hi Nancy. I think images shot at ISO1000 on the D200 look great. However, since I’m shooting only B/W and don’t mind “grain”, I don’t have to consider noise as much as the color photographer who might have to deal with accompanying color artifacts of noise. Any “noise” I get in B/W I simply regard as part of the result of my preferred way of shooting. I am okay with whatever noise shows up in my final images, and make no apologies for it to my clients, since I do not believe that the images I’m making are lessened by such noise. Therefore, I do not use noiseware, but can see how it might be necessary for color photographers.

    Thank you, Tiffany. How much the windows are overexposed in a shot like this all depends on how much light there is on the inside, since your final exposure is mainly aimed at getting the subjects exposed attractively. So, simply put, to keep the windows from really white-ing out too much, try to add light to the indoors (by whatever means you prefer), which will lessen the difference between the outdoors and indoors.

    Good catch on the hanger! I saw it there during the session, and just considered it part of the house decor, haha!


  8. Nancy Giroux

    Eddie..thanks for your response. I love to hear other’s opinions on grain. Being mostly a B&W shooter, I don’t mind the grain myself.

  9. christie

    Eddie! This is simple, carefree and lovely. I imagine a slight breeze blowing and the children laughing. I love the interaction and emotion between the two of them. It’s delightful!

  10. Annie N

    Eddie this is my favorite of yours.
    Love the way you drew in the light from the window
    & the halo lighting on the hair.
    Fill flash (obviously) would have destroyed this.
    Available light at it’s best.

  11. eddie Post author

    Thanks, Christie. I’m glad you mentioned the interaction… glad it shows here. Regarding your imagined slight breeze/laughter scenario: It was a very muggy Florida morning so all windows were closed to keep the cool air in; because of this we didn’t have an outdoor breeze coming in through windows… but, they were laughing! Ü

    Annie, thank you. I really appreciate you taking a moment from your great wedding work to comment on this one. I hear you on the available light… so much so that I am steering all of my sessions (when possible) toward available light these days. Ü

  12. Jodi

    Eddie, this is probably my favorite so far of your work that I’ve been lucky enough to view. I agree with Annie, it is natural light at it’s best. Simply gorgeous.

  13. Stacy W.

    Eddie, this is my new fav image of yours too! I love how the arch frames them and how they are interacting so naturally. Did you ask the boy to get on his stomach or did he do that himself? It really adds so much to have them at different levels. Love the lighting. This is one of the most inspiring images I’ve seen lately – kudos!

  14. Jill Garl

    This is just perfectly beautiful. The natural light is awsome and the body language expressed is so great. You really get a sense of how the kids interact with each other and their personalities from this tiny glimpse you have created. Fantastic work.

  15. eddie Post author

    Thank you, Jodi!

    Thanks, Jill!Stacy, thanks. I was fortunate enough to be photographing 2 kids who could be entertained just being together. I loved that about them. You should have seen how long these two played together with just a hula hoop. Anyway, to answer your question, I suggested the two of them sit opposite/facing each other under the archway, one on each side. To make for a more interesting image, I told them to see if they could touch toes… so they played footsies for a while.

    I just let them alone for a short while and they interacted quite unaware of me. This is when the boy got on his stomach — you know kids, they’ve got to change things up often, don’t they.  However, in changing things up, kids often move out of the best location photographically, so I did my usual guiding of subjects back into the best area and best angle to me. I make these sort of  “adjustments” really quick so that it hopefully doesn’t interfere with the moment. I might run over and swing the boy’s legs over to get a better profile on the face, while the boy continues his conversation with his sister. This is how it goes quite often…. tiny, quick, matter-of-fact adjustments. Sometimes a child will get distracted when I rearrange things, but I try to go with that too, since so much of what kids do instinctively is photo worthy.Thanks everyone for your comments.

  16. Heather

    Thanks for the tips on posing your kids! I’ve always wondered how you went about starting things out and making suggestions– and moving them around. I see you used a zoom lens on this shot. I believe that’s a first(?) How d’you like it?

  17. eddie Post author

    Hi Heather. Thanks for commenting. You’re right, I rarely use zooms, but only because I like to see a bright viewfinder image. That said, this image was adequately handled with the wide end of the Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 at an aperture of f3.5. I’m okay with the image quality of the wide angle range of good zooms vs. the long end at wide apertures. At the extreme telephoto end they’re usually just a little soft wide open, but perfectly usuable if you need to catch the moment.


  18. Gregory Edwards


    Just came across your site and really like your worlk with kids.
    What help you are with sharing so much valuble information on how you obtain these great shots. Thankyou!

    A couple of questions if I might. I also have a D200 and was wondering about using the B&W mode. Do you find it works well when printing from these files or would going raw and converting to B&W be better. Also how are you printing out your work for the final product?

    Again thanks so much for the great info you share.

    Greg Edwards

  19. eddie Post author

    Hi Gregory! I missed your comment, so sorry abou that.

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I have been getting great results from shooting in b/w mode JPG on the D200, and having my lab print from those files. I never use RAW, and it’s not because I don’t think it’s better or anything. I have explained this in other posts here at bwportait, but I don’t mind mentioning it again: It’s been only a few years since I switched from film b/w to digital b/w capture, and because of that (I guess), I still really really need to see my results in b/w right out of the camera. I just don’t feel as creative or inspired when I view my work in color first… so I don’t go the RAW route. Shooting in b/w mode may in some technical ways diminish the file I get out of the camera (compared to RAW), but… and it’s an important but… I don’t mind, because I personally value the psychological/creative benefits of seeing my work in b/w from the start, more than I value the possible increase in file quality that RAW offers.

    I get my work printed by They offer printing of files onto real black and white paper, too.


  20. Alpana

    Such a wonderful photo, Eddie. Ooh, I also love the one of them playing footsie. So interesting to read that you are shooting b/w jpgs. Btw, just discovered your blog clicking on the ILP pic 🙂

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