Creating a Sunny Window in studio

So I had this brain storm the other day, and I figured out a way to create the illusion of a bright sunny window where no window exists at all.  The following photo is the fruit of my labor, and the rest of the article explains how I created it.

My studio is located in my basement, and the only window light down there is from four 32 inch by 12 inch basement windows along the south and west walls of the basement. And even though in the late afternoon the sun does shine in through the west windows, it’s just not usable for much of anything other than added ambient light.

So I went to Walmart and picked up a set of 84 inch drapes, and a set of 84 inch lacey, sheer curtains. I chose 84 inch because it’s the perfect height for my basement.  I made a makeshift curtain rod out of 3/4 inch PVC pipe that I already had laying around, and slid the curtains onto it, mounting the lacey curtains between the heavier drapes. I then mounted the rod onto a couple of metal hooks that I attached to the second floor joist over from the right hand wall of the studio. The end of the curtain rod that is closest to the backdrop, is not fastened and is simply slid over top of the backdrop rod. There is one metal hook on the opposite end of the curtain rod, and second hook approximately in the middle.  That’s all there is for support.

PVC Curtain rod with drapes and lacey curtains

For the lighting, I used 3 remote triggered speed lights.  Two with umbrellas on light stands, and one mounted on the ceiling to be used at low power as a “hair light”.  The primary light, which mimicked sunlight through the window, was set to 1/2 + 03 power and positioned outside the studio and firing through a vertical gap between studio blackout curtain “walls” and through the lacey curtains into the room.  The secondary or fill light was positioned inside the studio at 1/8 power and firing directly at the chair.  The “hair light” as I said earlier, was mounted on the ceiling above and behind the chair at 1/64 power and firing almost straight down with a piece of cardboard wrapped around the flash head to focus the light.  (Note the illustration below indicates that the hair light was at 1/32 power, but that is incorrect, it should be 1/64 power.)

Rough top view drawing detailing the layout

All in all – a really cheap way to create the desired illusion.  I really love how it turned out!!  🙂 🙂 🙂