Video Tutorials

Window Light

Sometimes I find myself shooting winter weddings when it is below freezing outside and the bride usually doesn't want to spend more than a few minutes (if anytime at all) outside in the cold.  Can't say I blame her.  I have studio lights that I bring for this situation to make an ugly or boring church look more interesting, but the first thing I always look for is a large window.  I love using a large window for lighting.  The light is soft and beautiful, which everyone appreciates when you are taking their portrait.  A good lighting principle to know is:  "The larger the light source the softer the light."  If you can find a large window to use you can create some really beautiful and flattering portraits.  Here are some things to remember about using a window as your main light source:

1. Shadows on the Face

Since you are only using one light source you need to make sure you are positioning your subject to match the look you are going for.  If you have one side of their face against the window and they are looking straight at you, the other side of their face will most likely be dark = Half their face is lit and the other half is dark.  You can move your subject to where the window is more directly in front of them or have them look out the window to create a more balanced lighting situation.

2.  Use the Window for all it has to Offer

Sometimes, you may find yourself with only one location to shoot indoors.  You have to be able to get as much variety out of that one place as possible.  In the photos below you will notice how many different ways you can use a Window as your main light source by moving your subject and moving yourself.  Shoot from far back and then move in for a really tight portrait.  One of my favorite shots is to have a Bride sit by a large window and shoot from above.  You can also play with exposure settings to create a silhouette or blow out the background.

3. Diffuse the Light

If the window you are using has sheer white window curtains you can use it to make the light even softer.

4.  Competing Light Sources

If I can, I will turn off or eliminate any competing light sources so I do not have white balance issues.




tr.v. back·light·ed or back·lit (-lt), back·light·ingback·lights

To light from behind:

This is one of my favorite lighting techniques.  As you can tell from the definition above it is a really simple lighting technique.  All you have to do is put your light source behind your subject. Even at high noon (when the sun is supposedly directly overhead) backlighting is an option.  I use backlighting about 80% of the time.  The other 20% is mainly spent shooting in the shade.  There are a few things to remember when Backlighting your subject outdoors:

1. Expose for your subject not the background.

If you are taking a portrait then you should prioritize the person and not the background.  If you expose for the background your subject's face will be super dark. In my opinion it is okay to somewhat "blow out" the background when you are taking portraits of people.  This is a great time to use spot metering so you can expose on for the subjects face.

2. Consider using a Long Lens with a lens hood

The later in the day you are shooting the higher risk you run of lens flare.  If you are backlighting, you are shooting into the sun, and the lower the sun is the more it will be shining into your lens.  Using a long lens with a lens hood helps you better manage/reduce the amount of sun coming into the lens.

3. Move around

Even though your light source is behind the subject, is doesn't mean that you have to all be aligned.  What I mean dont' have to have the Sun directly behind your subject and shoot from directly in front of your subject.  Move to the side until you are happy with your composition and amount of lens flare.

Here are some examples of BackLighting:

Which Camera Should I Buy?

Here are some thoughts about upgrading from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR.  The links mentioned in the Video can be found below.  If you guys have any questions just leave them in the comment section.  

[vimeo 32457047 w=550 h=344]


You can find our more about shootCAMP by going to

Places to purchase your camera:

I personally buy all my gear from BHphoto but you can also find good deals on Adorama or Amazon.


The 2 cameras that I mentioned in the blog were the Nikon D80 and the Nikon D7000.

The lenses I mentioned were the nikon 50mm 1.8 and the older version found here.