Photography Lessons- How to Create Beautiful Portraits at Home

Hello all! If you are stopping by from IG thanks for checking out my tutorial. Make sure to check out the sign up at the bottom of my post for beta-testers for my new e-courses (coming soon).

I wanted to show you how I created this natural light portrait easily at home. I think many people overcomplicate the portrait process, or think that they need some super photogenic home to take beautiful portraits. That is just not true! It is all about the light, and finding pretty pockets of it in your home. I think you will be surprised at the pull back of this image.


Here is my final edited image-

Let me show you how I created it!

Gear I used-
Nikon D750 FX

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G

I shoot Nikon (full frame) and the 35mm is one of my favorite indoor portrait lenses. It allows me to get close in tight spaces without a ton of distortion. If you are looking to purchase a similar lens yourself but don’t shoot Nikon or on a crop sensor, here are my recommendations.

My guy has the Tokina lens and just loves it, it rarely leaves his camera.

Nikon Crop Sensor

 16-80mm f/2.8

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

 for Nikon crop sensor

Canon EF 35mm f/2

 (full frame)

Canon Crop Sensor EF-S lens

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

 for Canon crop sensor

If you have a Sony, Fuji, or mirrorless camera and want recommendations, just shoot me an email at

Here is the pullback of this image-

That’s right, it was taken in this tiny stair landing! Here is the window that the light is coming out of.

You can see that the sun is out and is being filtered by the trees. Filtered light is the best light in my opinion, it creates a softness that harsh light can’t compete with. It also created the awesome branch shadow seen above the girls’ heads. Literally the light and shadows change in minutes. I took this photo of Gabby in the same spot and you can see that instead of a stick shadow, I have a shadow of the pines.

Let’s talk camera settings. I use aperture priority mode and manual mode when shooting. I tried this shot originally in AP mode or  but because there is such a difference in lights and shadows here it couldn’t quite get it right, so I switched to manual mode.

I wanted the girls’ skin to be properly exposed so I put my focal point on their faces, and dialed in my settings so that my exposure read zero. Then I intentionally underexposed just a smidge to make sure I was getting the shadows too.

I posed them so their faces were facing the light but not staring directly into the sun. Had I had their faces turned the other direction, their faces would have been in the shadows.

My settings were- 35mm, f/1.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 640

My white balance was set to Auto, and the original image came out too yellow, so I adjusted it in Photoshop.

This is the image straight out of camera-

Even if you don’t own a DSLR this type of image still comes out great with just your phone.

TIP- Look around your home and the windows you have that get light in them, observe them at different times of day.

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Emily and Mark | Wedding photographer Minnesota

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Wedding Photographer in Minnesota | Couples Session

What a romantic location! I just adored my session with these two. This session took place in Florida when I lived there, but I do have wildflower fields that I use in Minnesota as well. The lupines will be in bloom in May, and they are my favorite! If you’re looking for a romantic location, hit me up this spring! I do still have weekend dates open for weddings in 2018.

Minnesota Photographer | Senior Session

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Photographers in MN- Senior Session

Meet Emilee, class of 2018. I had a blast photographing her this summer! She has such a sweet personality and an infectious smile. She was down to try anything I came up with. For Emilee’s session we started at the river and then moved to Bend in the River Park in Rice, MN. I just love how her images came out!


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