Behind the Scenes: Shooting Backlit and Natural Light Portraits With Irene Rudnyk

I found Irene Rudnyk a few months back when I was looking more into portrait photography. I found that her work stood out amongst a lot of other work because of how clean and straightforward her style was. In this video, Rudnyk goes over how she shoots in a small bedroom inside her house using only natural light and a reflector. This video goes to show that a good photo really can be created anywhere if you know exactly what you want and how to do it.

After watching this, I am inspired to go out and try to achieve photos with this beautiful, soft look Rudnyk is able to capture. It is great to see her in the process of shooting, how she talks to the model, and explains what she is doing with the light and lenses as she is shooting with. Being in a space like that can be challenging but she certainly made the best of it with what she had by shooting closer up and using that window to her advantage. Another thing I noticed about Rudnyk is that she loves these lenses with super low apertures. If you listen close enough, she mentions she is using a 50mm f/1.2 which has a super shallow depth of field and probably takes some getting used to. These f/1.2, f/1.4, and even f/1.8 apertures really add to her style of work, and the bokeh in her images almost seems like her signature.

I love shooting portraits myself when I am not out droning, but it is something I feel I need a lot more work at. It is always nice to see people share the way they work on YouTube for others to help understand what they are doing when they go out to shoot. Rudnyk has a ton of other great, helpful videos posted on her YouTube and a lot of behind the scenes so we can get an idea of how she works with her models when she is out shooting. She also covers a ton of helpful photography tips and tricks that anyone can apply to their work as well. I find all of this content very helpful and am always inspired by her work.

For more about Irene, check out her website, YouTube, or Instagram.

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5 Comments

"If you listen close enough, she mentions she is using a 50mm f/1.2"
I listened close, she said 85

Felix Wu's picture

She only has that 85 1.2 and uses it wide open for nearly all of her pictures. Doesn't that get boring though? LOL

Michael Kormos's picture

I use the 85/1.4 and have shot it wide-open for eight years.

I assure you, it does not.

Felix Wu's picture

I bought mine since the lens had come out but found it somewhat soft at F1.2 still. I love it when stopped down though.

how to be a successful photographer. 1. shoot hot people. 2. be hot.