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Ask Jen: Are north-facing windows best?

From: Angela Woolridge // Angela Woolridge Portrait

Q. If you were building a new studio or searching for a new location would you choose north-facing windows?

A. This is a great question as I see photographers talking about this pretty often. I think the decision of what direction your windows face depends entirely on where the building is located, and here’s why:

I am located in Vancouver, which is an absolutely amazing coastal city with ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Vancouver is typically a very cloudy and rainy place. It can get quite dark in the winter because the clouds sit pretty low.  Truth be told, north-facing windows would actually not be very good (for me), because we barely get any light for 7 months of the year.  Personally, I would rather choose a location with the best light exposure on a cloudy day, and then just deal with softening the sunlight when it actually shines in the windows (a scrim jim or sheer white curtains work pretty well).

vancouver skylinePIN

Check out this amazing time lapse video of the Vancouver skyline, including incredible footage of the clouds rolling over the city.

I lucked out when I found my studio. The suite is on the back of the building, meaning it faces west (ish) but there’s another building right across the alley. The building opposite me acts as a big reflector, bouncing bright sunlight back into my windows. The only time I get direct sun exposure is about an hour before sunset when the sun is aligned and shining down the alley.

jennifer williams studioPIN

So, if you live in a flat area with tons of sunlight, then north facing windows would probably be ideal. My suggestion is to just go view potential studio spaces on days with the most typical weather for your region, during the time of day you’d most likely be shooting. This is what I had to do, and am thankful I did because I could have ended up with a space with horrible light the majority of the year.

Got a question for me? Don’t be shy! Ask me anything!

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams has been obsessed with boudoir photography since she started shooting boudoir in 2009, and her passion for helping women feel beautiful is evident in every aspect of her business. She is also excited to help other photographers grow their businesses to be successful and rewarding. Jennifer's high end luxury boudoir studio is located in Vancouver, Canada.

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