Did you know that you already own one of the most effective, variable, and attractive lighting setups in all of photography? In fact, you probably own at least 5 of them.
They’re commonly known as windows.
Yep, window light is a wondrous thing. It’s free, all over the darn place, and really really really gorgeous. You basically get the effect of a superhuge softbox, without the superhuge pricetag.
The key to great photography with window light is using your eyes. Look at what’s in front of you, decide if you like it, and adjust to taste. It’s seriously that easy! And once you start to experiment, the possiblities are endless!
In this video, Lauren takes you through some of the reasons why window light is so rad, and a few different looks you can achieve in seconds. Check it out now!
Tips For Awesome Window Light Shooting
- Use your eyes. Think about the light in front of you. Does it look cool?
- Shut off all other lights in the room so you only have one light source (otherwise white balancing is going to be a pain!)
- Expose for the bright side of the subject to avoid blowing out your highlights
- Expose for the subject when using backlighting (and the window is going to blow out. That’s ok)
- If the sun is coming directly through the window, you’ll end up with harsh light instead of soft. You might want that, or you might want to use a different window to get the soft stuff
- When shooting people, try to get catchlights in their eyes to brighten them up. Catchlights are the little white reflections of the light source that show up in eyes. They’re good things.
Different Types of Lighting To Try With A Window
- Different positions along the window (back, middle, front)
- Front lighting and backlighting
- Adjust the angle that your subject is facing the window at
- Adjust the distance your subject is from the window
Window light is extra awesome because you can practice it at home! Just grab your partner, your kids, your pet, your friend, or your stuffed animal. Anything will do!
Have them stand near a window, and try to get as much variety in your lighting as you can simply by adjusting their position.
I bet you’ll be totally amazed at how easy, gorgeous, and fun it is to shoot with only a window!