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Doorways – The Perfect Place to Shoot!

Do you ever struggle to find beautiful light indoors to take your portraits?

Sometimes dreary weather keeps us inside, or you may not have anywhere with access to windows, and plain walls or areas to shoot… if that’s the case, one place you can nearly always find great light.. is at your own front door!

In all the houses I’ve lived, when I’m stuck for ideas on finding light… I’ve always been able to rely on this location, for beautiful resutls!


Open Doorways Offer Great Light!

This option works the same way as garage light or patio light.

Doorway light is beautifully soft and can be gently directional depending on how you place your subject in relation to the light.


In this photo it was a really overcast day, dull and grey inside, and so I opened up the doorway and sat my daughter right in the beautiful light.

Behind her was a very busy hall table and lots of clutter (aghh!), so I asked my husband to hold up a piece of fabric that I used as a backdrop.

(Incase you’re wondering, this very cool background is a float decoration called “floral sheet” and you can find it here)

In this photo I used my 85mm f/1.8 lens and I was standing about 4 feet away from my daughter (outside!)

As there was loads of natural light I was able to expose easily for a great shot!

Finding good light in open doorways for portraits


You can use anything as a backdrop. Get creative and see what you can find (or steal our ideas here)

But if it’s dark enough inside, that may be enough to disguise any clutter beyond the beautiful light in the doorway:


Get Down Low

When you’re shooting little ones, and taking advantage of doorway light… make the most of the set-up by getting down nice and low.  In the images below I was literally lying half in/half out the doorway itself.

Anything for the shot right!

This way I was as to be at eye level with the kids to capture their lovely expressions, and to ensure I had a beautiful, simple backdrop of the wall behind them.

I also like to add a blanket or rug, not just to make it a little more comfortable, but it adds context and colour/interest to the photo and you’d never know we were lying in the hallway!

Finding good light in open doorways for portraits


Want to Add More Drama?

All of these photos were taken with my subjects facing the door light front on, so they have nice even soft light wrapping around them.

If you want a more dramatic look, turn your subject on a 45 degree angle to the light source and expose for the lit side of their face, and experiment until you find a contrast between light and shade that is flattering as well as dramatic.


Not Just for Portraits

Doorways are also great places to position yourself for all sorts of other photography, flatlays, food or product photography!

So if you’re ever wondering where on earth to set-up… think no further than your own front door!


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