If you’ve ever regretted not having a studio or lighting equipment when making a portrait, it’s probably because you don’t know the power of something as affordable as magic: the window. Yes, yes, a window. And not one of light (of those that are plugged in), but of those of a lifetime, those that are in any house, premises, room, cabin … those that precisely emulate the first. On the ceiling or on the wall, a window is the only thing you need to illuminate your portrait indoors when you don’t have lighting equipment .


Many times we complicate our lives too much with the acquisition of products. We get carried away by consumerism and marketing that drown us daily. Or we even blame our photographic failures to the limitations of the team instead of thinking that beyond this we have a part of responsibility, because there is creativity , inspiration, knowledge , photographic eye and, of course, practice. And instead of asking ourselves if we fail in any of these last aspects, we tend to blame “our team” or the lack of what we think we need to improve our photographs. Do not fool yourself, everything you need to get a good picture is at your fingertips. A camera, your talent and natural light.

Camera (whatever) I understand that you have (if you are reading this blog is obvious), talent, if you do not own it, you are in it (that’s why you are here ) and natural light is free. Today, as I have already told you, I am going to talk about a resource to make the most of it, a resource that gives you creative possibilities beyond light, a resource that has almost magical powers. Window. Stay and you will see why, you will be able to check what all his powers are (and yours) .


Before continuing, I will tell you why it is important to approach a window to receive all the light, even when you have no intention of appearing in the frame.

Normally, the window (or windows) is usually on one side of the room. And while you perceive that the entire room is equally illuminated, it is not so. Your eyes perceive it, not the sensor of your camera From the window to the opposite side of the room, there is a loss of intensity that although you do not notice it does affect the result. For this reason, although it seems to you that a face is equally illuminated in the center of the room than in front of the window, it is not. Do the test.

We can continue


If the most suitable for the portrait is the hard light or the diffused light is something that you must decide based on what you want to convey with it. For soft, tender, calm portraits, better to use diffused light, on the contrary, if you are looking to transmit strength, restlessness, aggressiveness … better ally yourself with the shadows caused by hard light. The good thing about windows is that it offers you both possibilities.

The harsh light occurs when the sun shines directly on the window. This will never happen in a north-facing window, for example. If you are looking for this effect, opt for another orientation and expect the sun to be somewhat low. You will have a result similar to this.

If what you are looking for is to transmit sweetness, portray a baby or awaken positive and pleasant feelings, opt for diffused light . You will get it on a cloudy day and at any sale or time that does not directly affect the sun’s rays.

What exactly is the circumstance that you have hard light? Nothing happens, there is an infallible trick : put a white tissue paper in the window, it will blur the light creating a perfect environment. For sample click here, this photo is taken in hard light but with a paper on the glass.


You can also achieve low key portraits with the light of a window. In this case, it will help you to be in a room with a small window and possibly dark (although this usually goes together). It is true that the windows of modern houses tend to be large to illuminate the room as much as possible, in that case, you can help yourself with the shutter (lowering it, of course) of the shutters, if any, or use the ambient light that sneaks at night.


Another great power of the window is the frame it offers to make a natural framing . What would come to be like a photo inside the photo. The natural framework that achieves is to focus the gaze on the person portrayed, to give it greater importance when it is not a first or foreground . In addition, whatever type of window will add one type or another of sensations to the portrait. What do you want to tell? Are you more interested in photographing from inside or outside?


A window can also be a perfect “frame” to tell a story. A portrait must go beyond a simple image of a face. He must tell something about the person portrayed, about his life, about his personality, about his tastes. A window can be the “door” that helps you. Look at these two examples:


Another great power that windows have is the possibility they offer to photograph through glass (better be clean ). Why? For example to capture the raindrops by weaving a veil over the face, to be able to photograph a posture that you could hardly achieve without a glass or even to offer another point of view … Do you want examples?

I love this possibility that the window offers: the silhouettes of the backlight, those profiles that seem drawn with a light brush. Or those other dark ones that reveal nothing but the outline.

But a backlight goes beyond, it not only serves to photograph a silhouette, it can help you create a white background or enhance textures, among other possibilities.


The reflections are very attractive and a window is a perfect tool to combine them with your portrait. Either the same reflection of the portrayed, or reflections from the outside, as a double exposure, but achieved by the window pane.

Some examples:


Are you looking for a different portrait? Then ally yourself with a window, it can offer you very different, creative or emotion-filled portraits.


Take advantage of hard light to create games of light and shadow. The drawings of the window, the blinds or the curtains can give a very interesting touch to your portrait. Do not stop playing!


You just discovered the powers of the window. Now it’s your turn to use your magic wand (your camera and your talent) to activate these powers. Magic needs a magician. That’s you. Find a model, a window and shoot! We want to see the results

If you liked this article, I would thank you infinitely for sharing it on your favorite social network, Facebook, Twitter or Google +. That is magic for me . Thank you and see you next time!

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