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The Window Light: Use natural light to shoot appealing portraits

Jan Stimel (photocyan)

Keywords: portraiture, lighting, shooting_conditions, studio, guides, tips_and_tricks


Harness the photo power of  window light: use natural light to shoot appealing portraits


One of the most beneficial and powerful lighting accessories available is the window.  Everyone owns at least one. In this article I would like to show you certain ways of using a natural source such as the window light to give your images a pleasant moody look.

Many photographers use costly lighting equipment, special umbrella-shaped gear with expensive energy consuming light bulbs.  I am not saying all of these gadgets are superfluous, but the same or even a better effect can be achieved with a more simple method by even beginners. Daylight in its purest form contains all colors of the rainbow spectrum, distributed more or less equally (to be more precise it depends on the time, weather, season and location).  Although the light changes through the day, it is important  that it is the light in a location where you live, where you naturally take the pictures and therefore it is your light. This type of lighting is ideal when shooting adults, children and pets.  The image's appearance becomes more contemplative than a studio look, mostly because of the special catchlight in the eyes. It seems almost like one's soul is captured in that particular moment. Even known objects get a misty and nostalgic look, which makes it also ideal for shooting still life photographs.

To make a full use of this light condition, you may need a light reflector and maybe a mirror in some special cases, but generally you will get along with a window and reflected light from a door or a wall. When you spend some time learning the light's characteristics, you will quickly learn how to master its use.  


Young woman's face lit by window light

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