Window Light Portrait
People are my favorite subjects to photograph - and they can also be the most difficult. When you are working with a still life or landscape, you don't have to be respectful of its time. You can photograph it until your heart is content, making every minor (or major) adjustment you want. When working with people though, not only do we not want to bore them to death, but we need to respond (sometimes very quickly) to their movements and expressions.
The following exercise will give you an opportunity to create a professional studio-looking portrait, without a lot of fussy set up, so you can focus on the person, and getting a good exposure of them.
Tip 1: In portraiture a lot of people will make the mistake of not filling the frame with their subject. Don't be afraid to get close and give your subject a strong presence in the frame.
Tip 2: You will get a softer light if you diffuse the window light with a sheer curtain. If the window light is not diffused the light will be more harsh. Ideally, a window facing north on a cloudy day, will give you decent conditions for shooting with a light sheer for softness. In the example below the window was facing east, cloudy day, sheer panel for diffusion.
Tip 3: If your subject has long hair or a flowing shirt or dress, it can be fun to add a fan or blow dryer to create some movement in the hair. In this image of my grand daughter we put a fan between her and the window and had her face it, blowing her hair back.