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How I Simulated Window Light in This Beauty Shoot

Sometimes all you want to do is shoot some beauty work with some natural light, but it doesn't mean the weather will always cooperate with you. Mother nature has a way of doing whatever she wants on any particular day. Super, right? Here's how I simulated window light in the studio.

The days you need it bright and sunny are always overcast and gloomy, while on other days, when you want soft, flat light, the sun is blazing like crazy. Of course, there are ways you can deal with it, such as shooting in the shade, but it means you’ll have to deal with the risk of inconsistent light. 

In this shoot, I did not want to deal with that, but I wanted to shoot something that looked like there was super-soft light coming through huge windows. I'll make my own weather, darn it! 


Equipment List

Lighting Setup

The lighting setup wise here is incredibly simple! Basically, just find a white wall and bounce your light off it. Here, I used two strobes to get a wider area and bam, super-soft, natural-looking light!



As you can see, not much was done to the lighting. I just had to do a little cleaning for the skin,  and it was done! (Note: the before here had a few tweaks from Capture One, such as color temperature and color balance.)



I personally really like this lighting style and find it especially useful for capturing images for model comp cards, as it shows them off very clearly.

Photographer: Shavonne Wong 

Model: Adel Szegadi, Basic Models and Dasha Liashova, AVE Management

Makeup: Christian Maranion

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Eli Dreyfuss's picture

I am definitely going to use this technique on my next fashion shoot! To increase my ambient fill, but will add some punch back with a beauty dish as key! Thanks for keeping it simple!

Shavonne Wong's picture

I'm glad you found it useful!! (:

Eli Dreyfuss's picture

I have done this before but with a massive modifier. Going to try it bare bulb and see what a difference it makes.

Motti Bembaron's picture

But wouldn't the beauty dish reflected in the eyes give it away?

Beau Brand's picture


Shavonne Wong's picture

Thank you Beau!

Shavonne Wong's picture

What's the 4 ways?

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Noone knows :)

Richard Bradbury's picture

Great result. Nice and clean. Thanks for sharing Shavonne.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Glad you like it! (:

Tony Clark's picture

Nice images. Another variation is to fire the flash heads into a white seamless and bounce light onto the model with V flats. You can also add a BD to that setup.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Beautiful! (:

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Nice shot, Tony. I learned that technique in school along time ago, the instructor called it "backbounce" lighting I don't know if he made up that name or if that is what it's called. I used a Hasselblad and let's say that a lot my shots were sharp AND flarey. I like how the highlight on her cheek adds some shape.

Jonathan Brady's picture

Ironic: I just took a picture of my daughter's freckles and sent it to my wife with the caption "it's happening!" (her freckles are finally coming in) and you went and edited some off of your model's face. 😢
You also destroyed the subtle beauty of her eyes.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Well now you know how to take an image of your daughter with her freckles in this lighting and edit the image as you see fit. You're welcome!

Tony Clark's picture

Jonathan, I was a bit confused about your comments, so I looked at the TIFF file and am still satisfied with it. Perhaps you can share some of your images and we can comment on them.

Jonathan Brady's picture

Talking about the image in the article. It resembles the model, but it's not her.

Tony Clark's picture

Then you shouldn’t have made the comment as a reply to my post. Either way, it was poorly done.

Jonathan Brady's picture

I didn't. And I don't care what you think.

Jared Wolfe's picture

I use this technique all the time for back lit portraits where I want a nice soft direction-less fill. A great way to get super soft light.

Shavonne Wong's picture

Yea it's my go to fill light too... especially since it's setup is so wonderfully easy hah!

Deleted Account's picture

Nice image, nice light, but far to be a "window" light for me…

aaronbratkovics's picture

Thats pretty neat!

me wolrd's picture

great stuff!

David T's picture

Love your articles. Informative and straight to the point. Gorgeous example photo as well!

How did you change the face shape, is that liquify or perspective correction?

Nicole York's picture

Love these, Shavonne!

Mike Styer's picture

Love these shots! The skin tones look amazing - what software are you editing on and what are you doing to achieve these skin tones?