Using Window Light in Your Photos

So you know all those selfies you see on your IG feed of friends….the ones with the flawless skin, glowing cheekbones, and a seatbelt? Yeah….a seatbelt. Or maybe a steering wheel. Ever wonder why you get the urge to take a photo when you glance at yourself in the rearview mirror? You look good, that’s why. There are no circles under your eyes, your wrinkles are filled, your skin glows, and there’s a twinkle in your eyes. It’s not magic. It’s windows. You look extra good in the car because there is a huge window lighting you from the front and smaller ones lighting you from the sides. It does make for a good photo…but you can get the same look…without the seatbelt. Today I want to talk to you about using window light.

Instagram Car Selfies
Top car selfie results in IG this morning.

Windows allow you to stay inside, but still use natural light (the sun).  They also give directional light (coming at you from one direction). The bigger the window, the better. One of my favorite places in my home to take photos is by the back door. Not because it’s a beautiful location in my home, but because the storm door is floor to ceiling glass and lets in the most light. It’s common to find these big windows in places you might not think about for photos…like your dining room, front door, or even bathroom. 

Examples from one of my newborn sessions where I used all natural light.

When using a window, it’s still important to think about what kind of light is pouring in. Is it super bright, harsh light that’s leaving sharp shadows and bright spots on the floor? If it is, just be patient. Come back in a few hours and see how it’s shifted. Really want to understand how it’s shifting? Use your phone to snap a quick picture of the same part of your house every hour of the day that you’re home. Maybe it’s the floor right in front of that big back door or the couch in front of the window in the living room. Now go back and look through the images. Do you see changes in the shadows that appear? Is the area really bright or really dark during certain times of the day? Look for the time of the day where you can’t see any harsh shadows, but it’s nice and bright. That’s your time!

TIP: Clean your window!  A clean window can let in significantly more light than a dirty, smudgy one. It can make a bigger difference than you realize.

TIP: Pull up the blinds and push back the curtains. Let in ALL the light. This means pulling those blinds all the way up. In a particularly dark room, it may mean lifting the curtain rod all the way off to let as much light in as possible. 

Notice the direction of the light. In the left image, the light is pouring in from behind, creating a halo effect on her hair. In the next image, the light is coming in from the side, creating more dimension in the sweet pup’s face. Once you find your light, move around & try different angles for different looks.

Now that you know the best window in your home and the best time of day, turn your kiddo toward the window, either at an angle or all the way. Look at his eyes. Are they twinkling? Catching the light? Are his little cheekbones lighting up? Perfect. Snap that photo, mama. 

Windows are your friend. Get to know the windows in your home and use them. Pull things and people closer to the light and you’ll start to notice a big difference in the photos you’re able to get. See those glowy photos on my website? All natural light.

And if it you just can’t pass up that car selfie….at least park the thing and take off the darn seatbelt! 😉 

Until Next Time,

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