Photography Cheat Sheet: Quick Tips for Diffusing Window Light

Want to experiment with natural light on your next shoot? Try these easy tips for diffusing window light from today’s featured photography cheat sheet.

Shooting in natural light can be tricky but it’s also a flattering and readily available light source. Whether you’re shooting portraits or still life, the key to working with natural light is being able to modify it to achieve the look you’re after. This is where today’s photography cheat sheet comes in.

The cheat sheet below, by Digital Camera World, is a simple, effective guide to mastering natural light for indoor shoots. While window light tends to produce even lighting that you can shoot with as is, using light modifiers can make a subtle yet interesting difference.

If you have window light that already looks naturally diffused, you may get a result similar to the example above. But, if you want to achieve certain effects, you can use a black material, a white reflector, a silver reflector, a diffuser, and even backlighting. A black material reduces the reflected light, producing darker shadows and making the textures more prominent. A white reflector lightens the shadows, producing even lighting without any dark areas. A diffuser placed between the window and the subject produces a softer light. A silver reflector will lighten the shadow even more (this is an extreme effect and can look a tad overdone on ceratin subjects). Lastly, backlighting often produces very soft, dreamy images since there’s almost no light hitting the subject from the front.

These tips and techniques can work differently with various subjects and the quality or intensity of the window light. Feel free to experiment with these different light modifiers and see what works for the look you want to achieve.

Want more photography tips and tricks for your next shoot or ongoing projects? There are more to check out in our growing photography cheat sheet collection!