Re-Creating Natural Window Light: The Power of a Single Flash
I photograph my family’s day-to-day, so it’s important for me to have lighting gear that is simple and efficient. I don’t have time for an elaborate, studio setup when I need to create good light. The less gear I have to use, the better. You can watch the BTS video of how I created the shot below and follow along in steps listed in the article to see how I emulated this natural window light with a Profoto A1x!
Step 1: Determine Desired Ambient Light Exposure
You can glean from my Instagram that I work primarily with natural light scenes or emulation of natural light. I try my best to use the available light to shape and mold my subjects and add in any additional fill light to match my existing light. For this shot, I wanted to retain as much detail in the shadows of the scene so that the key light coming from the window doesn’t overpower the scene. For these images I chose to use a Canon 5D Mark IV paired with a Sigma Art 24mm.
Step 2: Mimic Your Strongest Light Source
For this particular scene, I wanted to add in more fill light coming in through the window while still maintaining soft light quality. I placed a Profoto A1x on a light stand with a Large Deep White umbrella outside my kitchen window. This area of my kitchen does not get a lot of natural light because of my covered porch outside the window. My sink is also really deep so there is a lack of beautiful light on my daughter when she lays down.
Step 3: Adjust Light Power & Shoot!
I synced to my A1x with the Profoto Connect on my camera. True to Profoto form, it’s simple and easy to use. I had my Connect set to manual and adjusted the strength of my light through the Profoto app on my phone. It’s obviously important for me not to leave my daughter’s side here, so being able to adjust the strength of the light right by her is wonderful. My camera settings for these shots were ISO 500, 1/250, f/2.8.
I edited these images using my new Dawn Presets to finish off the image with nice warm tones. I love how natural the light looks on my daughter. Using the umbrella and then having the A1x also diffuse through the window helped to really soften the lighting.
If you want to follow me on my photography journey you can see more of my work on my Instagram or join me at the Click Away Conference hosted by ClickinMoms in Atlanta from March 6th-8th, 2020. You can also join me in the Master Lighting + Off-Camera Flash (OCF) with SLR Lounge for more behind the scenes and tips & tricks on off-camera flash and how to best utilize natural light.