Blue Hour Photo Workshops

Photography is a constant travel to new places

Natural Light Indoor

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Nothing beats natural light. It’s versatile, so beautiful and always changing like a facet, thus always surprising. Even in places, you recon you would need to use artificial light; you may take advantage of natural light. Think indoor. Your first thought may be to turn on the flash, but instead of its harsh and contrasting result, here is a different approach.

Light from a window or an open doorway brings the beauty of natural light indoor. What more is, it’s a soft and diffused light that wraps around the subject you photograph—as long as you don’t let direct sunlight through the window or doorway.

Furthermore, window light is a natural light that we are all familiar with in our day to day lives. It is easy on the eye and easy for us to decode in a photograph because we are so familiar with the way light rattles around in a room. A large window is essentially a huge softbox that will diffuse light into the room and around the subject you place in front of it. Window light can be wonderful for photographing portraits or still-life subjects.

As mentioned, it’s diffused but still directional so that it brings out the forms of whatever you photograph. One could call it «quiet light» because it has a peaceful quality to it. It reduces contrasts, which makes it easier for the camera to record details in both the deeper shadows and the brighter highlights, which in turn makes it possible to see more details in the final picture.

By using light from the window almost anyone with a good camera and lens can take exceptional indoor images. The soft nature of window light makes it very flattering; the shadows that appear on the face are very natural and don’t accentuate any features.

You can use light from a window in many ways, lighting the subject from behind or affront. However, probably the most beautiful light from a window or doorway is when you use it to cast a sideways light on the subject. Side-lighting will really bring out the forms and details in the subject.

The photo above was lit from an open doorway only. The light brings out the characters of the elderly couple and brings out the weathered faces sculptured from a long life on a farm in Cuba.

What about giving this approach a try? I am sure you will find window light both easy to handler and resulting beautiful images.

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6 Comments»

  Natural Light Indoor | In Flow wrote @

[…] If you are interested in this practical tip, you will find more about it on Blue Hour Photo Workshop’s blog. […]

  Sue wrote @

I love natural light!

  Otto von Münchow wrote @

It’s simply the best, no!

  Sue wrote @

It is!

  Reggie wrote @

Thank you for another great tip, Otto. I also much prefer natural light indoors to using a flash. Sometimes it is tricky, though, like when you need to increase the ISO (could become too grainy) or to decrease your shutter speed (could blur any movement) to capture the image you want. I really like photos that are softly backlit – it can create a lovely glow around the person’s face.

  shoreacres wrote @

I have some fossils I’ve been wanting to use for a post but haven’t, because I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of them. I’m going to try this, and see if an indoor photo won’t do the trick — what you said about bringing out the details sounds just right.


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