21 Inspirational Natural Light Portraits - dPS
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21 Inspirational Natural Light Portraits

21 Inspirational Natural Light Portraits

One of the most effective pieces of lighting gear ever invented is available to almost every photographer in the world… unless you’re living in a cave (and even then you might have one).

It’s the window.

Here is a collection of natural light portraits. They were all taken predominantly with natural light – in most cases at or near a window. Enjoy.

portrait

Image by Daniel Zedda

Image by Anna Gay

natural light portraits

Image by Eric Meuller

I hear many photographers asking about what lighting gear to purchase to light their portraits – but I’m a firm believer that the natural light provided by a window can often do the job as well – if not better – than any expensive gear that you might buy.

natural light portraits

Image by Meredith Farmer

natural light portraits

Image by Shandi-Lee

natural light portraits

Image by Paul Goyette

Image by John Meuller

natural light portraits window light

Image by Mr Story

natural light portraits window light

Image by Beni Ishaque Luthor



natural light portraits window light

Image by Gabriela Camerotti

natural light portraits window light

Image by The Q

natural light portraits window light

Image by Sebastiano Pitruzzello

natural light portraits window light

Image by Gabriela Camerotti

natural light portraits window light

Image by Jay Ryness

natural light portrait

Image by Raymond Larose

natural light portrait

Image by gabriele fanelli

natural light portrait

Image by Sebastiano Pitruzzello

Image by Jay Ryness

Image by Drew Herron

Image by brice hardelin

Image by Lauren Nelson

Further Natural Light Portraits Reading

We hope you enjoyed these Portraits. If you have some shots to share please do so in comments below. If you’re looking for a little inspiration – check out these links.

Understanding Natural Light Portrait Photography (tutorial)
Natural Light: Mastering a Photographers Most Powerful Tool (eBook)

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • gerq
  • Eddie

    My niece. I just got to meet her yesterday :)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/burritocover/10262417626/

  • Jill Marshall

    Only natural light used here…

  • Linda Cook

    I was surprised to see how old this article is via the reader’s posts. But better late than never. Here are a few of my natural light photos. I was pleased to be my daughter’s wedding photographer.

  • Lily Lustosa

    These are some of my selfportrait

  • Lily Lustosa
  • Matt

    Photo of my son on bed, using window light only

  • Rita Gilliam

    This is one of my favorite Senior pictures I took of my daughter with the late-afternoon sun illuminating her beauty!

  • Nicolle

    Took this window light portrait of my daughter. Usually I say smile and she gives me the cheese smile. After reading the forum for photographing children I instead asked her questions about the book, and who was her favorite character. My laundry is on the couch, but I got her thinking, and me thinking outside of the box to take a different portrait.

  • Deb Elton

    Hi Attached is a portrait of my nephew taken in natural light by a window in my home.

  • Guest

    Lovely shots & definitely inspirational to try out
    Here are 2 of mine

  • Jen

    I took this of my son last month.

  • Angie

    Sitting on the floor of the dining room, using light from a scratched up doggie door.

Some older comments

  • Sal

    April 21, 2013 06:02 am

    Can you give us an example of the settings ,just an idea,please

  • JohnDesq

    April 16, 2013 01:00 am

    It is beautiful...I use Sliding-door lighting :-) See Example
    http://www.johndesq.com/femslidingdoor.jpg

  • Kumar Varun

    May 2, 2012 04:46 pm

    really nice examples..

  • Jacob Jimenez

    May 1, 2012 03:28 am

    Beautiful photos. I especially love the black and white portraits. No light compares to natural light!

  • Schaef

    April 28, 2012 10:23 am

    http://www.photosbyschaef.com/Still-Life/BLACHANDWHITE/20922007_Hs9DRr/1728711583_BSZSjFp/A

  • Franz

    April 28, 2012 05:40 am

    Here's one I took in my kitchen

  • PaulB

    January 15, 2012 01:57 am

    Nice images, I love natural light portraits. I'm lucky, my Nikon D700 excels in low light

  • turisuna

    January 14, 2012 04:19 pm

    I love to use natural light for my portraits, it gives proper light for the result. Besides that, the personal touch on the photographs make make the result more interesting.

  • Naik

    December 13, 2011 10:23 pm

    Window light is really great, I loved always taking photos with sufficient light but recently had some shoots at home with window light which is really nice and I love them. [img]undefine

  • Camera fan

    December 11, 2011 05:54 am

    Mmm.... I love natural light from windows. The variety of uses illustrated is great - from high contrast silhouettes to soft diffuse light for stunning portraits.

  • Juliette

    December 8, 2011 02:41 pm

    All I have to say is AMEN!!!!!!!!!!! I'm glad someone said it. There's nothing like a window!

  • Madison Raine

    December 8, 2011 02:49 am

    This are breathe taking. They're are great compositions.

    Since I am still at the begining stages of becoming a photographer, I don't have lights yet (also don't have the money for them), so I use natural lighting a lot.

    ...I found that bathrooms do have a lot of great lighting....

  • Mark - Cornwall Wedding Photography

    December 7, 2011 07:32 am

    Beautiful and inspiring photos, I love window light, I don't like it being winter and suffering with dark skies, glad we have fast glass and high ISOs, certainly easier than in the film days. Speaking of which, I'm loving some of the black and white conversions here... brilliant!

  • Scott LaRue

    December 7, 2011 04:27 am

    My attempt at window light with my son.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/60199249@N02/6414681087/

  • Waheed Akhtar

    December 5, 2011 07:16 am

    Beautiful shots. Darren I would like to put some guest posts here.

  • Viki Anderson

    December 4, 2011 11:25 pm

    Trying again - My favorite Natural Light Portraits: http://pinterest.com/pin/45880489923448010/

  • Paul Langley

    December 3, 2011 08:47 pm

    A portrait of a sleeping child in natural light.

  • Sachin Patel

    December 3, 2011 06:39 pm

    Very nice,would like ur opinion on the photo of my son ...

  • Jason Adell

    December 2, 2011 07:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing these stunning images. When it comes to lighting I try to use nothing but natural light, I do have a 580 ex2 in my bag just in case, but the beauty of natural light is hard to beat.

  • Val

    December 2, 2011 04:47 pm

    What great B&W images and a great rminder about working with natural light, the photographs say it all

  • Sal

    December 2, 2011 04:41 pm

    I would like to know some of the settings, I tried some but have problems to get the contrast or is PS

  • Viki Anderson

    December 2, 2011 12:35 pm

    My favorite Natural Light Portraits: http://pinterest.com/pin/45880489923448010/

  • Rs

    December 2, 2011 10:44 am

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/63770761@N04/6438828779/in/photostream

  • Sean

    December 2, 2011 10:14 am

    Beautiful and fantastic work.

    How does one get to submit images for consideration for posts like this?

    Here is a link to my one of my favorite portrait sessions I have using only natural light

    http://www.prairierangerphotography.com/blog/?p=144

  • Christie Green-Williams

    December 2, 2011 10:07 am

    Thanks for the inspiration...needed it since its Friday! The play of the natural light which also with the textures of what is on the picture also inhances the model.

  • Marian Adoranti

    December 2, 2011 07:25 am

    Amazing photography. So very inspirational.

  • Mom2my10

    December 2, 2011 07:25 am

    This has got to be one of the most inspirational articles I've come across here. The images are absolutely stunning. Thank you for sharing! Going to a window now! :)

  • Ashish

    December 2, 2011 07:07 am

    this is what is known as a lazy blog, put 21 pictures together, give no other information other than a window is somehow involved.. and yes use the word inspirational.

    great job.. NOT!

  • Inge Borg-Guzman

    December 2, 2011 07:03 am

    Hello, I loved this article.
    I just have a one question, doesn't these photos need a quite long exposure? I have in my studio a window toward north and the light might not be too stong enough, very soft thoug.Or I should use the other windows in the house instead?
    Ideas appreciated.

  • Brianna Danylle

    December 2, 2011 07:00 am

    So many strong images here--I absolutely love this. This is definitely a reminder about how less is often more. I feel inspired... :)

  • Tony Berru

    December 2, 2011 06:35 am

    Love these images, especially Brice Hardelin and Anna Gay's images. Thanks for the image inspiration.

  • Mehmet Nariçi

    December 2, 2011 04:33 am

    Human psychology, reads from his face. !

  • novice photographer

    December 2, 2011 03:23 am

    Great selecrion - very inspiring - two of my favs below -

    Lighting through the hallway - but pose is my son being mischiveous -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/65728881@N08/6308295682/in/photostream/

    The second one was a absolute accident - but I simply love - in a completely dark passage with a narrow stream of soft light!! The baby is almost angelic - simply loved it !!!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/65728881@N08/6436851853/

  • Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog

    December 1, 2011 02:57 pm

    These are all so amazing. Thanks for the inspiration for the next challenge on my blog!

  • Veni

    November 30, 2011 04:24 pm

    These are pictures of my daugher ..Hope u all like it ..
    https://picasaweb.google.com/104548140900022351370/MyWork#5680652158348635042
    https://picasaweb.google.com/104548140900022351370/MyWork#5680651960291280386
    https://picasaweb.google.com/104548140900022351370/MyWork#5680652158348635042

  • Phil

    November 30, 2011 04:02 pm

    @dok: The B&W image by gabrielle fanelli of two ordinary looking people is probably the most powerful of all these images. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but there is beauty in all of us and it is the job of the photographer to bring that out for the whole world to see.

  • Swapnil

    November 30, 2011 01:10 pm

    Amazing collectoin

  • matabum

    November 30, 2011 12:35 pm

    great selection, thanks.
    @doc: yes, it does:)

    gere's one of my favorite candids where i used natural window light:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/matabum/4772152417

  • Scottc

    November 30, 2011 10:36 am

    Great theme and beautiful photos!

    Not a portrait, but naturally lit thru a window:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/5675012692/

  • Karen Puglisi

    November 30, 2011 09:23 am

    Here's my self portrait

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photochique/5839597701/

  • Martin Soler HDR Photos

    November 30, 2011 09:16 am

    Stunning, I had read some tips on using windows and I applied it to a portrait of my son here: http://martinsoler.com/2011/06/27/damon-benjamin-soler-born-29-march-2011/ however seeing these makes me want to go right back and start all over again. A great source of inspiration. Thanks again!

  • Paul A. Orosco

    November 30, 2011 09:01 am

    Great inspirational images.

  • Lucas - Abbotsford photographer

    November 30, 2011 08:10 am

    Natural light always sets such a great mood. I prefer it over any other type of lighting.

  • yaro

    November 30, 2011 07:13 am

    I just wonder what does the photo by mr story and brice hardelin to do with natural light?

  • dok

    November 30, 2011 03:36 am

    Hmmm, nice... does it work with ugly people ? ;-)

  • TARDY

    November 30, 2011 02:55 am

    the black and whites are just stunning. need to shoot more around the window light. thanks for posting

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    November 30, 2011 02:43 am

    Great iamges and article as usual - very inspiring. Now I have to try new stuff!

    For this image we tried to simulate a window with the Rembrandt Lighting and curtain. The great thing about using natural light from a window is that you can usually find it anywhere.

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/rembrandt-lighting/

  • Amy

    November 30, 2011 01:51 am

    The photos aren't showing up for me...

  • Bryan

    November 30, 2011 01:43 am

    Thanks for the inspiration. Natural light and shade shouldn't be overlooked.
    Now look at the catch lights in some of these portraits. It may be natural light, but there is a lot more going on than a simple window.

  • gnslngr45

    November 30, 2011 01:36 am

    So often I am so focused on color that I forget how impactful B&W can be. This inspires me to plan some window light shots and utilize the light in B&W.

    Flickr:

    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

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