As you probably know, great lighting is essential for taking great portraits.
That’s why photographic flash and lighting equipment make up one of the largest segments of the market for photography gear.
One of the best sources of light for portrait photography is absolutely free however, and it’s available most anywhere during the daylight hours…
It’s natural window light, and it can help you produce some amazing photographs.
Unlike most artificial light sources, sunlight entering through a window pane is simply perfect for portrait photography due to its warmth and moderate intensity.
Properly utilized, window light reduces the appearance of harsh shadows and hides minor imperfections while giving your model character and personality.
At the same time, the shadows that do appear actually enhance a photo instead of detracting from it.
And of course there is usually plenty of natural light to be found when shooting outdoors.
Here’s an example of what’s possible when taking full advantage of the sun’s bountiful rays:
If the natural light at any given time is too weak to properly illuminate your model’s face, it can easily be enhanced by using a reflector (a white sheet of poster board works quite well).
And don’t worry, the reflected light will still be natural light that provides the same warm glow as the light directly striking the model’s face from the window pane.
I’m not saying that flash gear, lighting umbrellas and such don’t have their place. They certainly do. But if you’ve never tried shooting with natural window light, you just might be in for a very pleasant surprise.
Bonus tip: This post explains why my trusty 85mm f/1.8 prime lens is my favorite portrait lens.