How To: Take Pictures Through Windows

Taking photos through windows can be tricky for a photographer no matter your skill set. It’s hard to both focus your camera correctly and still get a cool reflection on the model. After a couple 100 images worth of failed attempts, I mastered how to shoot through a window.


  • My first mistake came when I decided to have my lens autofocus on the model. My lens naturally focused on the reflection behind me instead of what was in front of it. I learned quickly that it was essential to manually focus to achieve a sharply focused image.
  • Next, I found that it is nearly impossible to get a clear image if the wall behind the window is textured at all. I quickly discovered that the textured, brick wall behind me was ruining my photos and I had to change my positioning to get a clear view. Some of the photos turned out okay but the intense wall texture was too much for many of the images and became distracting as shown in the picture below.
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  • I also quickly discovered that my shadow might be seen at certain angles so make sure you check and double check that your shadow isn’t distracting from the main subject, sometimes you need to use your shadow to block the sun but in other situations, you’re going to want to avoid that. In the picture below I should’ve used my shadow to allow for less bright sunlight on the model’s face.
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  • Make sure to direct your model clearly because often times the window is thick and your voice becomes muffled to your model.
  • Do not take the picture if there is something white or light colored behind you because the model’s face will be obstructed. I would recommend finding something darker to cast a shadow and create that true reflective quality. Jessica Whitaker’s video goes more in depth on this concept. 
  • If you follow these tips then you can achieve really good images through a window such as the ones pictured below.




For more images from these shoots click the links below!

Cafe Portraits & Laundromat Portraits

Camera: Canon 7D Mark ii

Lens: Canon 50mm 1.4 & Canon 35mm

Aperture: 1.4

ISO: 250

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