I recently moved into an apartment with window blinds. I didn’t pay much attention to them until the golden hour when they cast gorgeous horizontal shadows on the table. Instantly inspired, my inner photographer forced me to take a few photos. The results pleasantly surprised me.
Though I’ve seen an abundance of window blind portraits online, I’ve never really thought of creating similar photos of my own. When the opportunity arrived, I was astounded by the plethora of creative possibilities a simple object could offer.
To take photos similar to the ones in this tutorial, all you need are window blinds, a camera, and bright sunlight. The golden hour and noon are the best times of day for photo shoots of this kind, in my opinion. I used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50mm 1.8 lens.
Here are the many ways you can take photos using window blinds.
Blinds that are slightly closed will give you enough light to photograph your subject’s entire face. To make this look more interesting, shoot using a wide angle lens. If, like me, you don’t have one, create a panorama instead.
The photo above was taken through a window, which added interesting textures to the image. When you shoot through a window, make sure you don’t stand directly in front of it. If you do, you and your camera will be a part of the image! (Sometimes this creates a really cool effect, though.)
Closing your window blinds almost completely will create very thin horizontal lines. These are great for moody, mysterious, and delicate portraits.
What I find most difficult about the lack of light is finding the right pose. Effects like this are perfect for highlighting certain features like eyes. However, this is easier to achieve with models as you can give them instructions. When you take self-portraits, use your phone to find the right light and then take a photo with your camera.
Blinds that are almost open will create thin horizontal shadows. This is my least favorite technique because it’s so similar to other kinds of shadows; for example, you can create the same effect with fences. Nonetheless, if the photo above appeals to you, it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy experimenting with this look.
If your model stands in front of window blinds, your photos will acquire a pleasant, backlit atmosphere. This is great for creating textured silhouettes and casting shadows on hair.
The photos above were taken in a small kitchen using window blinds, golden hour light, a window, and a camera with an affordable lens. The photo shoot itself was incredibly fun and didn’t take up much of my time.
Photography isn’t always about extravagant photo shoots and expensive equipment. Sometimes, it’s all about making the most of what you have. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
Don’t limit yourself to window blinds. Look for other objects that you could use to take breathtaking portraits.
Let us know what you come up with in the comments!