I love light. Soft light, natural light, bright light, dim light, light bulb light, strobe light, lightning bug light, moon light, moon shine, light beer, lightning light, and on and on …. It’s either because I’m a photographer or I’m a photographer because I love light.
Window light is one of my favorite types of light and a great simple option for anyone who needs to create a headshot of someone, whether it’s an employee, a personal relationship or a selfie. Just put them (or yourself) by a window and take a picture. You will get a great shot.
Windows offer two basic alternatives, side lighting or full lighting. The photo taken above is for an upcoming book cover and shows full lighting. Gail simply faced the window, gave me a beautiful smile and we got a wonderful headshot. The two photos below are examples of side lighting. Side lighting can be a little tricky due to deep dark shadows on the side opposite the window. (This can be lessened by holding up a big piece of white foam core or something similar to provide fill light.) Side lighting is a little more dramatic and more contrasty than full lighting (it also shows wrinkles better)
The best part of using window light is it does not need any special equipment. Just you, your camera and your happy subject. Experiment.