Does it feel like you’ve already used every single point in your house: bedrooms, living area, kitchen, bathroom and even hallway?
Are you tired of trying to create something new and different?
One of my personal favorite spots may be one you haven’t thought of to use yet – the front door!
This spot sees so many family moments: rushing off to school, everyone piling inside, loads of shoes and dirty gumboots, little hands playing with toys next to the door frame and more! So many stories happened around and behind the front door.
From everyday moments to paid photo sessions, you can utilize the front door for any purpose. Here’s a few ways to do so!
Utilizing the front door for its light.
The light coming from outside is perfect for capturing portraits/headshots, everyday moments with kids playing, taking off outerwear and just having fun. When facing your subject directly towards the opening of the front door, you’ll get a flat lit image.
Tip: Flat light works beautifully to hide imperfections in the skin since there are very little, if any, shadows. For example, this could be ideal for a teen who is self-conscious about acne.
Pocket of light
You can use the light coming from the front door to create moody and dramatic photos. You can also catch slivers of light coming from just a little bit of an open door and falling on your subject.
Tip: Expose for the highlights which will allow all the clutter and distractive elements to disappear into the dark shadows. After all, we all know how messy a house with little ones can be!
You can capture emotional portraits or lifestyle moments using the side light coming from the front door. It will give you a perfect dramatic effect with light coming to one side of the face and shadows on the other.
Tip: This is a great opportunity to play with Rembrandt lighting by choosing the right angle.
You can change the angle and perspective and capture the moments using backlight coming from the front door. Just make sure to choose the correct exposure to avoid too much light coming through the lens and creating distractive flare.
Tip: If your subject’s face is too hazy from the backlight, either slightly adjust your angle to minimize the haze or use a reflector to bounce some light back on them.
Related: 5 Easy backlighting tips
Flat lay photos
You can use a front door light to capture the details: toys on the floor, kids foot/hands, and even use it for your business commercial work as product placement, photos with your branding, packaging and anything you like.
Tip: I recommend watching how light changes during the day: the direction, softness, and temperature. These skills of observing light can help you discover the right way of using it in your photography.
Use the front door in your composition.
The front door is a perfect framing element. You can have the door open or closed based on your preferences and decisive moment.
Tip: Make sure to place your subject in the middle of the door frame or wait for the moment when your subject moves there on her own without any lines coming through her body.
Leading lines can be common around the front door. Don’t forget to use them to help direct the viewer to your subject. Leading lines could include step railing, a row of flowers or shrubbery, a console table, the back of the couch, etc.
Tip: When your leading lines are symmetrical in the frame, a center composition often works quite well.
Each entry has a different texture: wood, glass, metal, etc. Capture that texture in your photos. My front door has an old wooden texture which feels cozy and homey with warm natural feeling in images.
But don’t stop there. You can even capture the texture in the floor or details.
Tip: Textures are more noticeable in the shadows so make sure your door falls into the shadows or you underexpose your image some.
Color is another element of design that can be perfectly used for capturing images at the front door. If you’ve traveled around Europe, especially Italy, you may remember the fantastic entries. All the different colors with old style handles taking instant attention – it’s like an entrance to another world and beautiful in photos.
Tip: Use the color wheel to guide you on how to dress your subject depending on the color of the door. Colors opposite one another compliment each other well and will help your subject to stand out against the door color.
Use the front door to tell a story.
The moment is another piece of the puzzle when creating your picture. There could be beautiful light or the opportunity for amazing composition but it is nothing without a moment.
Again, think about those moments that are so common at the front door like rushing off to school and the kids playing in the sunlight streaming in.
Use your creativity and imagination wisely. You’ll be surprised how you can find a new meaning in everyday things.