In this hundred and ninth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we learn about taking portraits in natural light in Churiwalan Chowk area in Old Delhi. Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
The source of light for portraits in the Indian street have been used for decades before artificial sources of light were discovered. Although natural light as in this portrait from Old Delhi can limit options in portrait photography compared to artificial lights for photographers. A white reflector placed to reflect light into the darker side of the subject's face, will even the contrast.
The source of light for portraits in the Indian street have been used for decades before artificial sources of light were discovered. Although natural light as in this portrait from Old Delhi can limit options in portrait photography compared to artificial lights for photographers. A white reflector placed to reflect light into the darker side of the subject's face, will even the contrast.

Churiwalan Chowk portraiture

Shutter speeds may be slower than normal, but the lighting will be beautifully soft and rich. The best time for the photographer to take street light portrait is considered to be early hours of the day and late hours of afternoon when light is more intense on the street. Curtains, reflectors and intensity reducing shields are used to give soft light. While mirrors and glasses can be used for high key lighting.

What is the photographer's preferred light?

Many elements go into creating a portrait photo, but for the purposes of this article, the focus will be on light and specifically natural light in portrait photography. This is the photographer's preferred way of using light in photos. In fact, he very rarely travel with an external flash because of the extra weight and because the photographer does not like the look of flash in his photos. He knows many people who use flash with amazing results – and more power to them.

Improve your portrait photos
Portrait photography is one of the most popular genres of photography today and people want to capture and post stunning photos of their travels to influence others, motivate others and in some cases also sell portrait-related things. But portrait photography is so much more than that. These photos have the potential to connect us to our beautiful world. Images of places and culture take us away from our mundane everyday existence but also the faces of the people we met can transport us to magical places we can only dream of visiting someday. Perhaps they remind us of a time when we too took that trip and had similar experiences and the portrayed faces can become a walk down memory lane.

Natural light in the photographs
For the most part, Portrait photography involves a lot of outdoor photography in natural light and primarily in the harsh mid-day sun. Of course, there are exceptions where you are indoors in places like museums and restaurants. In such cases, you will likely be dealing with indoor lighting and may even use a flash. So before you take a single photo, look around and analyze your location. This will help you understand how you can harness the natural light around and you should consider whether you are out in the elements with only the sun as your light source. How you handle you camera settings will depend on the location and light at that location. Harsh mid-day sun outdoors means lower ISO and high shutter speeds. Cityscapes may mean mixed lighting with shade and harsh shadows, so you need to adjust your ISO and shutter speed accordingly and the fascinating thing about natural light is that it changes constantly. Depending on the time of day, season or even the direction your window faces – light fluctuates minute to minute.

Knowing what time of day you are photographing will help you plan your gear as well as the kind of photographs you will take. Believe it or not, light does impact the subject. Depending on where you are, placement of your subject and where your light source is, the results can differ wildly. So, the first thing to do after working out the light is to understand it in relation to your subject. At times colored glasses, filters and reflecting objects can be used to give the portrait desired color effects. The composition of shadows and soft light gives window light portraits a distinct effect different from portraits made from artificial lights. So what is adjustable in these scenarios is the photographer and his relative position to the subject and light. Do not be afraid to move around to get the best angle and framing that will work for your situation.

What is the difference between New Delhi and Old Delhi?
Old Delhi is the most historic part of the metropolis, with its origins dating back to the time of the Moghuls. In contrast, New Delhi was designed by the British during colonial times, with much of the architectural work being down to Edwin Lutyens in the 1920s and 1930s. The Chandni Chowk also known as the Moonlight Square is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, India and it is located close to Old Delhi Railway Station. The Red Fort monument is located at the eastern end of Chandni Chowk. It was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor of India Shah Jahan and designed by his daughter Jahanara and the market was once divided by canals now closed to reflect moonlight and remains one of India's largest wholesale markets. It is divided into two parts, the crumbling old city of Old Delhi and the orderly and well planned New Delhi, which exist side by side, but feel like they are worlds apart.

"Old Delhi has markets running through its streets and the area is vast and multiple products are being sold. Most of them are wholesale sellers and have been selling their products for many years. One such business is Gulab Singh Johrimal was established in Dariba Kalan in 1816 mainly as an attar which is perfume manufacturing business. Since then they have diversified into compounding, incense and toilet soap manufacture. Their retail outlet in Chandni Chowk was started later on. Another such shop is Harnarains manufacturers of pickles and preserves, located in Khari Baoli. Under operation since 1944, it is one of the older shops currently located in Old Delhi. Some migrants sell products like clothes, fruits and so on"

Delhi, a city for all senses
Delhi has not always been the capital of India, nor has it always been called Delhi. At least eight cities have preceded the Delhi of today, the first being the settlement of Indraprastha, which featured in the great Hindu epic The Mahabharata. Old Delhi or Purani Dilli is an area part of the greater city of Delhi, India. It was founded as a walled city named Shahjahanabad in 1639, when Shah Jahan as the Mughal emperor at the time decided to shift the Mughal capital from Agra. The construction of the city was completed in 1648 and it remained the capital of the Mughal Empire until its fall in 1857, when the British Raj took over as paramount power in India. It was once filled with mansions of nobles and members of the royal court, along with elegant mosques and gardens. Despite having become extremely crowded and inundated today, it still serves as the symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi and is known for its bazaars, street food, shopping locations and its Islamic architecture, Jama Masjid being the most notable example, standing tall in the midst of the old city. Only a few havelis are left and maintained.

Portrait photography in Delhi's old quarter
With a deep understanding for traveling in India the photographer is mostly photographing people in India with his camera. His website consists of 15 slideshows highlighting pictures with portraits of the Indian people but also landscapes from different areas and states of the country are seen in his colorful and photographic slideshows. From the golden landscapes and cities in Rajasthan in the West to the sacred city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in the Northeast.

Read also:  Homelessness in India

Read also:  Homelessness in India

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian man in Delhi. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.