Light, shadow, highlight: A guide to window light portraits

May 12, 2020

Barry Mountford

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Light, shadow, highlight: A guide to window light portraits

May 12, 2020

Barry Mountford

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Window light portraits are something we all can do from the comfort of our own homes, Its 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 during this downtime.

Using a family member, ornament or one of those polystyrene heads and spending time watching how the light falls on the subject and by turning the subject and seeing how that effects the light and shadows 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 realise its effect.

With all the understanding of how the light will effect 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 and 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 effect the look of your portraits. Most of these images were shot using a f4 24-70 kit lens on a Nikon Z6 and a 85mm f1.8.

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 into your subject.

With so much time and a completely free light source at our disposal nows the perfect time to practice, watch the video and see this all in full.

About the Author

Barry Mountford is a portrait photographer based in Gateshead, England. For more of his work, check out his website, follow him on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube channel. To get in touch, you can look him up on Facebook. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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