How to Take Better Photos: Window Light Photography Ideas
by Cody Johnson | Jan 4, 2012 | Advice
You didn't think we were done with the Don't Say Cheese! series...did you. Absolutely not. You know how it goes...you get busy with Christmas...then New Year's. Well, with the holidays now over we can get back down to business and hopefully learn something new about taking photos of your kids. In part 7 of this series, I want to tell you about the fantastic benefits of Window Light. Window light photography can be an amazing tool in your photo arsenal if you learn how to use it properly. The best natural light you can photograph in are the sunrise and sunset magic hours. After the magic hour in the morning is past (usually happens right after the sun pops up...early in the am) and before the magic hour in the evening you can be left with some really unflattering light from direct overhead sun. But if you go inside and use window light to use as your main light source you will get beautiful soft directional light that will make you look like a pro. Now not all window light photography is equal. This is according to most artists who paint. Have you ever heard of an artist who insisted on having a north facing room to paint in? Most artists will tell you that north facing windows give you the most consistent prettiest light. Not sure what they have against south facing light, but anywho. All YOU need to worry about is finding the a window in your house and as long as there isn't direct sunlight streaming though it, the window will give you that soft directional light that portrait photographers crave. In fact photographers use a lighting tool to mimic window light. It is called a soft box and they come in all different sizes from 1 foot square to over 6 feet tall. These soft boxes give photographers that same directional soft light as window light does. You might be asking, "Ok, so how do I use this window light to take photos of my kids when they are going 100 miles per hour?" Great question...I'm not sure. Hey, I didn't say this was fool proof ;-D. Taking photos with the window light might require a little cooperation from the kids or maybe during a time when they are quietly playing or resting. One good little trick that I have used is to tell them to look at the kangaroo outside (insert whatever you want...just get them to look outside). Then they usually look pretty intently out the window. This is a great photo op for a natural expression of them. Then they will look at you because you are taking a picture of them. If you time it right and use your sense of humor you can get them to laugh and bingo! There is your chance to get that candid, beautifully lit, perfectly timed portrait. Just be fast. I invite you to start noticing how the light that is coming through your windows shapes the objects in your house. Now insert a small child in and see what you can create. Here are a few examples to illustrate how beautiful window light photography can be!