Portrait of Swedish hockey legend Börje Salming, shot in natural light using only one window

This is a portrait lighting setup by Swedish photographer Frida Lenholm using only a window as a single light source. Since there is no expensive equipment needed, this is a lighting setup that anyone can test.

Frida: – I am very weak for portraits that are illuminated with window lights. For this portrait lighting with Börje Salming there was only one window in a dark room which created a nice contrast between light and dark.

The closer to the window you put the model, the faster the light will fall off, and give a stronger contrast. For more details regarding this, you can study the inverse-square law.

By placing Börje at an optimal distance from the window, I found a balance of contrast and even exposure that captures Börjes personality.

Portrait lighting setup using a window as a single light source.

Portrait of Alice Bah Kunkhe with a lighting setup using natural light from two windows

This is a portrait photography lighting setup from the Swedish photographer Frida Lenholm.

The photo of Alice Bah Kuhnke was for the cover of a local magazine in Sweden.

Frida: – Since I love backlight very much and had a short time, it was a good solution to us natural light and take the picture of Alice in the window.

The window in the back had the strongest light and was facing the sun. The transparent curtains reduced and softened the spill light around Alice. The window and the curtains also created a frame around Alice that accentuated the composition.

There was also a window from the side with less intense light, that worked as a kicker light that and lit up Alice from the side/front and made the exposure more even.

The photo is slightly overexposed and shot with a Canon 24-70mm /F2.8 lens.

Lighting diagram for the portrait in natural light

Photographer Frida Lenholm

Meet Swedish photographer Frida Lenholm. She is shooting a lot of editorial photography and often portraits. To get a good idea of Fridas style of photography, please check out her website fridalenholm.com and of course read this interview!

Where are you from? 
Stockholm, Sweden.

How long have you been into photography?
I started my own company in 2006. But i have been interested in photography since high school. 

Do you prefer studio or location sessions? 
Location sessions. 

What is your dream assignment? 
I just started photographing food and love it so a dream job would be to make a photo book. Preferably vegetarian.

What other photograpers inspires you?
– Nan Goldin is my favorite photographer. Her images are intimate and filled with emotions. I love her book ”The ballad of sexual dependency”. Lars Tunbjörk is another fantastic documentary photographer.

What is your favorite piece of photo equipment? 
Canon EOS 5D Mark II/Mark III
Canon EF 24-70/2.8L
EF 85mm f/1,4L

What is the most overrated photo equipment in general?
Mobile phones 😉  — they are not good enough simply.

What is the most common beginners mistakes when it comes to lighting? 
The photographer places the object in too bright sunlight so that the object has to pee with eyes. If the sunlight is too strong i always place my object in the shade. Another beginner mistake is not to overexpose if the main motif is placed in backlight.

What is your worst photo experience?
– A cold and rainy november evening when i would photograph a football match. It was dark and rainy and my telephoto lens let in light. It became 1 okay picture of  500 exposures…

Thanks, Frida!