Tips for Utilizing Window Light

December 16, 2010

in Photography Tutorials

Post image for Tips for Utilizing Window Light

Written by:  Becky Earl

Now that we are in the winter season and many of us are stuck inside due to the freezing weather, it is important that we know how to utilize as much available light (indoors) as possible.

Window light is a very beautiful and powerful tool in the world of photography. It can create many types of lighting on your subject ranging from harsh light to soft, diffused, even light. It’s pretty simple and one of my favorite types of lighting – winter or not.

Using backlight in a window light situation can create a beautiful dreamlike haze. Just like shooting backlight in an outdoor situation, I would spot meter and expose for the face. In this image below I was fortunate enough to be shooting in a room with all white walls. So the walls in front of the subjects acted as a reflector.

Most of us however aren’t able to shoot in beautiful all white natural light studios (this goes for me too- unfortunately its not my studio), so we have to improvise. That is when I would pull out my trusty reflector. dunn dun dunnnnn…

In this situation, the side of this babies room with the window was much cuter then the opposite side. Which just had a door and a closet. Without the reflector it was just too dark and since her room was painted bright pink, it gave her pinkish tones to her skin. (I knew it would be a nightmare to edit) SO I pulled out the reflector and put babies momma to work :) She held the reflector about 45 degrees from baby. (you can see the reflector’s reflection in her eyes.) It lit her nicely and got rid of any nasty color casts I would have had to deal with in post.

Next we have place-your-subject-45-degrees-to-the-window-and-you-get-beautiful-shadows-that-add-depth-to-your-subject-light, which is my favorite type of window light.

The great thing about window light is that it acts as a modeling light would if you were shooting studio. You can rotate your subjects until the light and shadows fall right where you want on your subject.
It can be as dramatic…..

or soft as you like….

You can have nice side lighting. Again as dramatic or soft as you like. Remember- the closer your subject is to the window, the harsher the shadow will be.

The further away from the window…the less harsh…

Front lighting is pretty much the easiest. If you are wanting nice even lighting across your subjects face. Place them right in front of the window and shoot away.

Last thing to remember. Try to find a window that faces NORTH. That light will be most diffused and even – since the sun never directly hits a north facing window.

Happy shooting!

Becky Earl is a hobbyist photographer, but more importantly a wife and mother to three beautiful children. Becky loves to create ART in her spare time (aka when the kids are busy) and loves learning new things about photography (aka when the hubby is busy). She offers Blog Your ART Templates at an affordable price to photographers who want to spice up the look of their blog. You can find her hanging out on her blog NEW BLOG , Facebook and Twitter.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Leni January 26, 2013

I love using natural light over flashes. Thanks for the tips!

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http://tinyurl.com/mark-8153944015 January 9, 2013

“Tips for Utilizing Window Light | I Heart Faces” was in fact a remarkable post.

If only there were a whole lot more weblogs just like this specific one in
the online world. Anyhow, thanks a lot for your precious time, Moises

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May November 26, 2011

Great tips! I love the effect of window light.

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Barbara Photography January 5, 2011

amazing natural light!

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A. Ann December 24, 2010

love this – I am a big fan of window light shooting :) love these shots and this post. Great stuff.

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Kristeen December 21, 2010

Those are some amazing pictures! Thanks for sharing.

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skye snyder December 19, 2010

LOVE the first image of the family. This is a spectacular family portrait. love it! I want to know more about their story..Great post and tips too!

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Amy Loo December 17, 2010

Awesome tips! Thank you.

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bridget edwards December 16, 2010

Love these tips & photos RT @livinglocurto Wonderful Photo Inspiration! RT @iHeartFaces Tips for Utilizing Window Light http://bit.ly/gWiFSy

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Mama Monkey December 16, 2010

Thank you for this post!!! I live someplace where it’s frozen all winter long. We don’t have a lot of natural light in our house, but this article definitely gives me some tips!! I’ve been working on how to use my hot shoe flash to enhance the ambient light too. An article on that would be helpful, too!! :)

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Deborah December 16, 2010

It was great to ‘meet’ you here, Becky!
Such beautiful images, and great information .. thanks so much for sharing!

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bridget {bake at 350} December 16, 2010

Great tips….and I LOVE all of these pics!

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Amy Locurto December 16, 2010

Wonderful #Photo Inspiration! RT @iheartfaces: Tips for Utilizing Window Light http://bit.ly/gWiFSy

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christie December 16, 2010

I use my east facing window in the mornings for my newborns, I lovvvvve it, and it works perfect!!!! i’vev never used lights on any of my subjects, just natural light or inside diffused window lighting…it works amazingly well!!

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Mique Provost December 16, 2010

Sweet!! I looove @beckyart!RT @iHeartFaces: Tips for Utilizing Window Light: Written by: Becky Earl http://goo.gl/fb/a7x3x

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Sarah December 16, 2010

Thanks for the great tips! I’m going to go play with my window light. :-)

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life with kaishon December 16, 2010

I looooooove window light. Such a great post! Than
k you so much for sharing.

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Michelle | Love that Shot December 16, 2010

Wonderful tips, Becky! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m going to go try some of these tips out… hopefully my 4 year old will cooperate for mommy! :)

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Alicia December 16, 2010

Would a South facing window also work? I am wanting to have a studio in my home when I buy one next year and I want to have as many options as possible to make it work so I can get the home I want that also can work as a studio

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Erin December 16, 2010
Adrienne December 16, 2010

I was so happy to read this. I am going to be using our sunroom as an indoor studio. It faces north, so it’s never been great for plants anyway. You have a beautiful style!

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PaveiPhotos December 16, 2010

I am a big fan of Beckys! Love the article!!

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Catherine December 16, 2010

Wonderful tips!! Was flash used in the first image at all?

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Tidymom December 16, 2010

RT @iHeartFaces: Tips for Utilizing Window Light: Written by: Becky Earl Now that we are in the winter season… http://goo.gl/fb/a7x3x

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