Tips for Using Window Lighting

There is nothing better than working with natural light. But we all know that sometimes when photographing indoors, lighting can be limited. It may be tempting to break out your external flash but there are a few things to try first! I shared with you how to find the light in your house and now that we’ve found it, it’s time to start using it!

One way I bring natural light indoors is by using window lighting. There are a few places in my house that work best for this: by my kitchen sliding doors and my bay windows. There is ONE window in your house that will always give you the best light. By taking the time to do a little setup, like the one below, you can take advantage of that light!


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 Light13520310984_ef807a4c80_k

When using front light, you will have your subject facing the window. Put your back to the light source and place yourself 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 above, my subjects were facing their front door which was bringing in a ton of natural light!


Side Light15906255416_77776642cd_k

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 above sit on this great chair next to the window which had sheer curtains that helped diffuse the light.


Back LightReid-49

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 taking better pictures indoors

Once you decide which type of lighting you will be using, make sure you position your subject appropriately. Start by having 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.

Use a reflector! This will help even out your shadows and give you even more light. It can something something simple like white foam board or a true reflector.


When using window light, you may have to raise your ISO to help you bump up your  exposure. Just don’t go overboard! Keep in mind that 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.

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  1. This is seriously so helpful. I struggle with this. I do have a white foam board, so I’m going to play around with it. I also put daylight bulbs in our dining room (the room I do most of my photography) but sometimes it’s too much light from above. The window light is better.

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