Boudoir Portraits Using Natural Window Light

Want to create that Moody Boudoir Look and that Bright and Airy Boudoir Look – all in one space? Here’s how to do it!

These photos were taken moments apart – and all with the same exposure, continuing to expose for the highlights as I moved around the subject. 

For a photographer, learning to see light is part of our job. Along with posing and composition – that’s what we do!   Sometimes people want a more moody and darker look for their boudoir images. That’s achievable even in bright and sun filled spaces – it’s all where it’s coming from relative to the camera and the subject.  Of course all lighting looks are possible with studio lighting – here we are looking at images shot in a few moments at the end of a portrait session to illustrate what shooting with natural window light can look like.

3 Different Lighting Looks using Natural Window Light

There are three basic  – and here you can see I’ve moved around in six steps, incrementally.  Some minimal adjustments made to the pose in each one – but the subject stays put. Front facing light (bright and airy) Side Lighting (moody), Back Lighting. 

Boston Boudoir Portraits Natural Window Light comparison chart

Front Facing Light

Front lighting illuminates the subject with a very soft natural window light with very even lighting.

I, and my camera, are between the window and the subject so that there is a beautiful and soft light.  The subject is slightly angled towards the window. 

Front lighting has minimal shadows and is my favorite looks for light and airy images.

Boston Boudoir Portraits Natural Window Light

Side Lighting 

Side Lighting creates a more dramatic and moody image. It can define the subject from the background and add depth and texture. And it’s moody af. I sometimes pull in a reflector to fill in some areas that get too dark. 

I really like to use side lighting to highlight curves and form . and you can do it in various degrees as illustrated in the images below. 

If you want images that are more dramatic and moody, side lighting is the way to go.  It’s ideal for emphasizing form and texture, and adding depth. This more moody lighting can create more emotional images and highlight posing. 

When you use a large diffused light source (like a window) to the side of your subject, the light shapes the body and shows off curves.

Boston Boudoir Flattering Natural Window Lighting

Boston Boudoir Portraits Natural Window Light Directional Boston Boudoir Portraits Natural Window Light Directional vintage nightgown

Boston Boudoir Portraits Natural Window Light directional

Back Lighting

Moody and mysterious, backlighting is the ultimate drama. Back light is a light source (again, here a window) is behind your subject. Your subject is between your camera and the light source. It can be tricky to get the exposure right (and I’ll often pop in a little reflector to open the shadows), but worth the results are worth it. If you expose for the subject or for the light source – you have a beautiful and flattering light.

 

Backlighting can create images that are anonymous and atmospheric. The image can become a story about anyone. 

Boston Boudoir Portraits Natural Window Light silhouette

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