We have been on this photography journey together long enough for you to know how much I love natural light. I cringe when I have to break out my external flash, not because I don’t know how to use it, but because I prefer the look of natural light. There are times when I am stuck inside due to rainy or cold weather or because I want to catch my kids being themselves.

One way I bring the natural light indoors is by using window lighting. I have said before how much I love shooting in my kitchen in front of our sliding glass doors. When walking into a client’s house, I always look for a window letting in gorgeous light – there always seems to be at least one.

Any window or even an open door will do! Don’t search for one that has light streaming into it, that’s not what you want. Pick a time of day when the sun is not shining directly through the window. You want one that has an even amount of light coming through, creating a diffused look free of defined patches.

There are three ways to use window lighting: front light, side light, and back light.

Front Light

When using front light, you will have your subject facing the window. Put your back to the light source and be between your subject and the window. By using front light, you will produce little to no shadows. Your background will be darker since your subject is closer to the light source. In the photo below, my subjects were facing their front door which was bringing in a ton of natural light!

tips for using window lighting

Side Light

Side light is when your light source is coming in at a 90 degree angle to your subject. Side lighting will produce more shadows than front light and can be very dramatic. I had the little guy below sit on this great chair next to the window which had sheer curtains that helped diffuse the light.

tips for using window lighting

Back Light

I love to use back lighting to create silhouettes indoors. Doors are perfect for this. Just open the door and place your subject in front. The steady stream of light will overexpose your background and create a wonderful silhouette of your subject!

tips for using window lighting

Tips for Using Window Lighting

tips for using window lighting

Week 32: August 3-9

1. Once you decide which type of lighting you will be using, position your subject appropriately. You want your subject close to the window and experiment with different distances to see the overall effect on the lighting. Also, place your subject on the same level as your light – this may mean they need to sit on the floor or in a chair.

2. When using window light, you may have to raise your ISO. As you learned last week, this can help your exposure greatly. Just don’t go overboard and remember, the higher you raise your ISO the more grain your photo will have. You can always brighten up your photo with a little post-processing.

This week, your challenge is to play around window lighting. Grab your subject and have some fun! Make sure you share your photos on Facebook!