How to Experiment with Window Light Portraits at Home

Window light portraits are something we all can do from the comfort of our own homes. It’s quite amazing during this time of lockdown, actually having the time to observe the light around the home at different times during the day and how it can transform a room as the sun pops out from behind the clouds. So what a perfect time to learn and practice lighting.

Use a family member, ornament, or one of those polystyrene heads and spend time watching how the light falls on the subject. And turn the subject and see how that affects the light and shadows. This is priceless and the perfect way to understand lighting in our portraiture.

We can take it one step further and use a white or silver reflector to bounce light back on our subject and realize its effect.

With all the understanding of how the light will affect your subject, put it into practice with a real model using all of what you have taught yourself and applying that in your portrait session. You will be amazed by the results!

Once you have the lighting down, you can then start using different focal length lenses and shooting at different apertures and begin understanding how these affect the look of your portraits. Most of these images were shot using a 24-70mm f/4 kit lens on a Nikon Z6 and an 85mm f/1.8.

And from this point experiment with the light and try many different setups around the house.

Using a black card behind your subject will create a nice black background and also a nice rim around your subject from the window light behind, and then simply bounce the light back into your subject.

With so much time and a completely free light source at our disposal, now’s the perfect time to practice. Watch the video at the top to see all this in more detail.

About the author: Barry Mountford is a photographer based in Gateshead, England. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Mountford’s work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.