When I wake up in the morning, love...

FAKE Golden hour • FAKE window •  FAKE bed!  • NOT FAKE me.

Vision: a woman seen through a dusty old window. She'd be sitting up in her bed, lit only by the early Winter sun, inspired by the kind of beautiful, rich morning light you see only around the time of the Winter equinox. I set up an old window frame/glass inside my home studio and used one strobe with an orange CTO (color temperature orange) gel to backlight the scene  to try and emulate  a wintertime  golden hour look. I  purposely included a little natural ambient light, which brightens the mirror reflection seen in the background,  thereby adding some depth to the scene.

Behind the Scenes View Showing Lighting Set Up:

BTS The Dirty Window

Timelapse video of the shoot in action:

No Photoshop Needed

Editing was simple - a crop in Lightroom along with some contrast and color enhancement. 

Before/After Lightroom Edit

  • When I wake up in the morning, love...
  • When I wake up in the morning, love...


Lens 70-200

Focal Length • 105mm

Speed 1/100th

f 2.8

ISO 100

Same Set up Different Look

The Dirty WIndow

I had  also played with a different version. My first attempt was a similar set up but without the ambient lighting. I blocked the mirror with a black V-Flat and worked at night when there was no naturally occurring ambient light. The window frame was reduced to a stark silhouette.


Lens 70-200

Focal Length • 115mm

Speed 1/100th

f 2.8

ISO 400

This one small change – time of shoot/available ambient light – has a small yet marked effect on the result.     This alternative portrait looks less like the golden hour and more like some kind of night time, artificially lit scene. It's still a cool result, but less convincing at telling any kind of golden hour story. 

 In conceptual photography, the more we can do in camera to create our vision, the more convincing the end results will be and the less work we have to do in post processing. 

Interested in growing as a photographer? I recommend the following Photo Challenge communities:

1. The Photography Scavenger Hunt

2. The Art of Self Portraiture

3. 52 Frames

Thanks for Visiting!

Any questions, thoughts or opinions? Drop me a comment below.

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