How to Photograph a Wedding Dress Without Window Light

Shooting a wedding dress can be a challenge when you are shooting inside a room without windows or with windows that aren’t in ideal positions. If you don’t have great window light, don’t fret, just follow the tips that Justin and Mary, professional wedding photographers, share here:

When necessary, Justin and Mary bring in artificial lighting to act as window light.

wedding photograhy

A strobe head is indispensable for wedding photography sans window light.

How to Create Your Own Window Light

A high quality strobe shot through a softbox looks similar to window light when set up properly. Te Profoto B1 500 Air TTL on a stand and with a modifier creates a large window that you can move around and set at a position that is just perfect for the shot.

Justin explains the logic behind using the large Profoto 1′ x 4′ RFi Softbox. It’s larger. It covers almost the entire length of the dress. Alternatively, he suggests a 1.3′ x 2′ softbox. They key is to use as large a modifier as you can to make the most natural-looking light.

Where to Position the Dress

Hanging the dress in the window creates a difficult back-lighting situation, whereas hanging it opposite to the window creates an even more difficult flat, hard light. The answer is in choosing one of the other two walls. The choice is in favor of the one that makes the simpler background.

“Now, I think the number one problem that us wedding photographers really struggle with is you get into a room and you know where you want to shoot, but there’s nothing to hang that dress on.”

Mary shows a novel way of solving the problem with a 3M Command adhesive hook. You can hang the dress wherever it will look best without damaging the walls.

wedding photography, shooting angle

Use an easy-to-remove adhesive hook to hang the dress exactly where you want it.

How to Shoot the Dress

It’s important to choose the right camera angle to make the dress look its best and include some drama in your photo. Mary shares,

“For objects like dresses or the shoes, we like to look for an angle that’s about 90 to 120 degrees.”

She explains that the 120 degree angle is preferred, because this is where the shadow starts to take over the highlights, creating a moody feel.


Experiment with angles to find the best light.

With these tips, you should feel confident photographing a wedding dress no matter the venue.

“In this case, we’ve made our own window, and a window isn’t scary, so neither is this setup.”

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