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Window Light 

Our very first Out and About prompt is “WINDOW LIGHT” : by Neva Kittrell Scheve
 
February weather can be unpredictable, so let’s stay where it’s warm and dry and shoot inside!
 
Window light doesn’t mean shooting into the window, but instead using the light from the window as your source of light on your subject. Window light can be soft, or harsh and dramatic. Either way can be effective. You can shoot a still life or portrait. The choice is yours. Although there are some techniques that also use flash or other lighting, this prompt is for window light ONLY. No artificial lighting.
     
A north facing window is best. The light will be softer from a north facing
window, but you can also use an east facing window in the morning or a west
facing window in the afternoon. The light may be harsher at an east or west
window, but you may want to use that to create a more dramatic effect. Harsh
light will create some exposure problems so be careful. If you don’t have a
diffuser, you can diffuse the light by hanging a sheer curtain or shower curtain
in the window to soften the light. A reflector can be made from a white poster
board or aluminum foil and be used to provide fill light on the darker side
if needed.
     
For a still life, you can set up a table or bar stool next to the window and place your subject so the window light is illuminating it the way you want. Pay attention to your background and foreground. You can use white or black poster board, or a fabric such as velvet or a sheet. The directional light from the window will give you a pattern of light and shadow. Study it and move your objects around until you get it the way you want. You may want soft diffused light on your subject or you may want to create dramatic shadows. For a portrait, have your subject sit or stand near the window. You will want to stand along the wall so the window itself is NOT in the photo.
     
                                                                     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For more detailed instruction, many tutorials can be found on line. I did a Google search and came up with the following links that have some really good information. You can also do your own search for more tutorials and videos.
 
Video and basic tips for using window light: www.photographyconcentrate.com/awesome-light-hiding-your-home/
 
More tips for general window lighting: www.121clicks.com/tutorials/window-lighting-in-photography-tips-examples
 
Video for portrait photography with window light: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj0DgQ6izeo
 
Another portrait video with general lighting tips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpoT-j_PDTE
 
Excellent video from Scott Kelby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSkAOXW3rGo
 
Lots of tips for still life photography: www.121clicks.com/tutorials/still-life-photography-tips-ideas-and-tutorials
 
Good tips for still life, but remember we are not using flash for this prompt. http://www.ephotozine.com/article/beginners--guide-to-photography-part-6---still-life-photography-4805
 
Tips for setting up your still life. Again, use only window light, no artificial lighting http://blog.picsart.com/post/still-life-photography-step-by-step-tutorial
 
More still life tips, but the video may not work after the advertisement. http://learnmyshot.com/classic-still-life-photography-with-natural-light/
 

Window light can be Soft like this example...

or Dramatic like this one.

A tripod is helpful, especially for still life. This will allow you to use lower ISO and longer shutter speeds for a sharp image. If you don’t have a tripod, use something else to stabilize your camera such as a bean bag, a bag of rice, or a folded towel. If your camera has a mirror lock up feature, use it.
     
 Lens choice is up to you, but I find a lens in the 50-100mm is easiest to work with. You can try macro, too. A longer lens is great if you have enough room to step back far enough.
 
When you have your little indoor studio set up, try a few exposures, take the card out and go look at them on your comuter so you can really see if you are getting what you want. Then go back, make any camera or composition adjustments and take some more.