Some weeks ago, I had to make some photo shoot indoors. As maybe you already noticed I am a natural light photographer, I don’t use flash that often, maybe for some experiments but I like natural light, I find it fresh and soft. This photo shoot was for a baby, in my imagination flash light was not the way to go for babies, its scary and aggressive. So I started thinking about other sources of light. And I found the window lighting.
Windows are great! When there is a cloudy day outside they are like a giant softbox, they make the light diffuse all around the house and it soft and filling light. Depending on where you put the subject the kind of light you will get. For a baby I found the window lighting great, the baby won’t notice that you are taking pictures and usually there are windows in all the houses.
To make soft lighting place your subject next to the window, looking at it is the best way in my opinion, so you can get the catch light and also the light coming from the window will fill in the shadows of the face. Making it young and nice. Also the light coming from the side its nice, catchlights are also there and the picture gets a more interesting look. When you place your subject with their back towards the window, you can get a really nice contrast, but its not that easy to get catch lights unless there is another window in the other side of the room. But you can always take pictures where the eyes are not showing.
For this shoot I follow a lot of the tips that Niki Strbian mentioned in the portrait course. Catch lights, reflective surfaces and light. This was a great learning on reflective surfaces. Using a reflector when you are working without an assistant can be really hard. So you need other reflective surfaces. For example, if you are shooting a baby, place it over some white cloth, it will make the scene to look brighter. Ask the parents to wear light colors, so the light reflects. Dark colors will take all the light and the picture will look not as great. White walls and curtains are also great source of reflection. Most of the houses have white walls and there is a lot of white in houses around, try to use that.
Some links regarding window lighting: