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|Category:||Portraits and People|
Natural Light Portraits - Clean your windows and make use of the free light that falls through them.
Use your standard zoom or get out a longer telephoto for more flattering shots. A tripod's useful as the camera may want to use a slower shutter speed due to the low light but if you pick a higher ISO you can use a faster shutter speed and work hand-held.
Soft, indirect light is good for window portraits. North facing windows are perfect, but you can use any that aren't in the direct path of the sun. Overcast days are perfect as the light's naturally diffused and won't be too harsh. Remember to clean your window too as it can be a full f/stop brighter than a dirty one.
Turn your household lights off for better results and experiment with the white-balance settings found on your Nikon DSLR or even compact as auto white-balance can work well, but shade or cloudy will produce warmer looking shots. Don't meter from the window as the camera will think the scene is brighter that it actually is and as a result your model will be underexposed. To combat this, meter from your model's face and if you're manually metering don't use the auto ISO feature.
The closer your model is to the window the stronger the light will be that's on them. That's unless the sun's high in the sky as then the light won't be as direct. However, high sun may cause shadows to appear under the nose so either move your subject further into the room or use a reflector to add light to the areas in shadow. If you set the camera on self-timer you can hold the reflector yourself or if you're going to crop in close get your model to hold it, just remember to check to see if it's in shot before you shoot and move accordingly if it is.
You want the model's eyes and the front of their face to be in the light as this is where you want your viewer's attention to be. Start by asking your subject to stand or sit 45 degrees to the window then adjust for the light accordingly. Apart from getting your model to tilt their head more to the window slightly it's actually easier for you to move the camera when you want a different shot. Try shooting side on, half in and half out of the light (when a reflector would be handy) or have your model stand straight on to the window and add a little fill-in flash to stop them appearing as a silhouette.