Natural Light Photography Tips for In-Home Sessions!
Want to know how to pick the perfect spot to take a great picture in your home ?
Every home is a little different but one thing you can always count on, is that every house has windows! And natural window light is our friend! So the first thing I would look for is a window with nice light coming through, but not direct sunlight meaning you don’t want to be blinded by sunlight when you pick the window. If you only have a window with direct sunlight, you can filter the sunlight through sheer curtains or a white sheet hung over the window. If you have windows with nice light coming in and its not direct sun, choose that one. Put a stuffed animal where you think you should shoot.
Look at it. Look where the light hits it.
Maybe take some photos of said stuffed animal.
You’ve found your window, and nice natural light but now where do you place your subject?
Place your subject at an angle to the light. You don’t want your subject looking directly at the light but ideally at a 45 degree or 90 degree angle from the window. Subjects look more natural with light and shadow and depth to their face, rather than being completely illuminated ( or blinded by sunlight). Make sure you’re close enough to a window to get nice light but again not so close that you’re subject is in the direct sun. If you cant get that close to a window, just make sure that you’re subjects are facing towards the light and step back a little.
You’ve found your angle, but what about your backdrop?
Next consider what you are shooting when choosing a backdrop. If you are shooting an infant, consider the floor. If you have nice wood floors or a fluffy carpet, you can shoot from above and use the floors as your backdrop. If you have a nice plain wall or a nice piece of art work, that too can serve as a backdrop. Even a nicely made bed makes great shooting space for kids and families. Another option would be to create your own background using either backdrop paper, or fabric, or a blanket. You don’t need a professional backdrop stand, just a couple of clips (Large hair clips or painters clips work great and can be bought at hardware stores!) and maybe some chairs. You can clip blankets onto the back of chairs or get creative with what furniture you have. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect – just think about what you want the shot to convey in your head first and set out to create it!
Using light as a backdrop! How can I shoot with the windows behind my subject?
When shooting, sometimes photographers will back-light their subjects which means they put their subjects with the light behind them. Putting your subjects against a window ( not flush against it, but maybe a couple of feet in front of it) and exposing for your subject will create a nice white effect behind them, which in itself becomes a new background for you. Shoot on manual, increase your ISO and focus right in the middle of your subjects. If its way too bright or you’re losing a lot of detail in the highlights, try moving yourself at an angle to your subject or turn your subject slightly towards the window while still using the window as a background. These photos can look soft and romantic and always look great turned into black and white.
Zoom in on your subjects!
One more step to shoot inside, is to really zoom in on your subject. You can get up nice and close physically to your subject or you can put on a lens that allows you to get close without getting in their personal space. By getting close, you eliminate any distractions that might be around the house. Get closer than you normally would – focus on the eyes, or just the face, or little hands and feet. Get all of those little details up close.
Photography is all about the lighting – don’t miss these lighting tutorials!
By following all of these steps, you can get a variety of shots of your subject that look like you had many locations. If something isn’t working, change it, move, try something else. The only way we improve is to experiment and just keep shooting!