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The photographer's handbook is a collection of lighting techniques, DIY and general photography tips & tricks I've learned over the years on set.

Quick Tip: Black Out Windows in a Studio

Ever showed up on location to find windows that will spill light all over your set? This quick tip will allow you to easily black out a room and the best part it will only cost you a few dollars.

I recently showed up to a shoot that required me to use a wide aperture of f/4 and a shutter of 1/160 to sync with my Elinchroms and... you guessed it, massive windows spilled sunlight into the studio we'd set up. The light was spilling all over the background and the model, so in order to preserve the large-ish aperture and slower shutter, the only option was to black out the room.

Black sheets from a fabric store may seem like a good idea but at $9/meter covering a room with 10 meters of windows, 4 meters tall, can become very expensive. So after a little research I found that aluminium foil and water will fix my problem.

I bought a jumbo box of aluminium foil and an empty spray bottle. Filled the spray bottle with tap water and ripped the aluminium foil in long strips to cover the windows.

Simply spray the windows with a light mist of water and apply the aluminium foil. It'll stick to the windows without falling off until it's time to pull off during your tear down. This is super easy to put up and even easier to take down. You might leave some water marks but nothing a bottle of window cleaner won't take care of.

And there you have it... the easiest and cheapest way to black out a room when you need to control the light during a photoshoot.

Total materials cost $11.45.

Time spent to cover the windows: 15 minutes.



It's not super glamorous, but it works beautifully! 

TutorialErik Sawaya