With my Natural Light Portraiture workshop with David Oliver coming up in a fortnight's time, I'm looking out a few new photos to show the class and, after my trip to Bhutan last year, I think I have a number that might make the grade! I mean, I hope everyone attending will like them, but the one person I need to impress is David. We have been great friends for around 30 years, but I can't remember once when he said I had actually taken a good portrait! So, I'm still trying.

This is Namgay's mum. Namgay was the head guide who took our group around Bhutan and his family home and farm are on the road to Trongsa. From the outside, many of the houses are quite ornate, but inside they are much simpler. Some of the windows are frames without glass and there are cracks in the walls that could hardly keep out a severe winter storm. They must be cold in winter!

However, we were there on a beautiful sunny afternoon in autumn and, after serving our group tea, Mum was wandering around her house being hospitable. I thought it was a great location and set up a photo of Mum for everyone to shoot, but it was only after I stepped away that I saw the photo above.

We're in a room with a couple of windows. The camera is pointing towards the window which is to the left, and the dark green background is the wall next to the window. I had to position myself carefully so the window was excluded from the image. I also needed to keep my lens hood on to avoid too much unwanted flare.

The angle of the light is what makes the portrait, the way it 'rim lights' Mum. I have a number of slightly different poses, some with a stronger profile, but in this one I can see Mum's great smile and how she patiently put up with a bunch of foreigners invading her home, and no doubt very proud of her son who has created a good business.

So here's hoping David gives me a pass mark for this. Mind you, I am photographing David's daughter's wedding at the end of the year, so I will have to take that as a vote of confidence. Or perhaps it's just that I'm doing it for free!

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