Do you know those false windows, with posters that are actually photos of the outdoors?

I'd like to take a photo of an interior with a fake window, and make it appear that light was coming in from that fake window.

What technique can I use to do this?

On the top of my head, I'm thinking doing two exposures;

  • 1st one with the fake windows exposed a little bright

  • 2nd one, I'll cover the fake windows with white sheets of paper, point my speedlights directly to it then have the exposure set to properly expose the room.

I'll then Photoshop the 2 images together, mask the window and clone tool the visible speedlight units off the photo.

I'm not too excited about the carpal tunnel syndrome inducing Photoshop workflow. Do you think it will work? Or is there a more efficient/effective way?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe it's easier to fake it entirely. Can you show an image of the room with the fake window? \$\endgroup\$
    – null
    May 11, 2015 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ At first it seemed like using paper for the second shot wouldn't be bright enough, but with enough snooted speedlights, it probably would be. I hope you'll share the results! \$\endgroup\$ May 12, 2015 at 0:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it's a still-life, you don't need bright flashes. Just use lamps and a suitably long exposure. You can also add together multiple exposures. \$\endgroup\$
    – JDługosz
    May 12, 2015 at 7:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps you could do it with one exposure only and selectively brightening the false window. \$\endgroup\$
    – MirekE
    Sep 10, 2015 at 13:20

2 Answers 2


You are in trouble if the fake window is simulating a backlight... If your subject is in front of this background.

If you want to use them as lateral difuse light, you could take a shoot of the window. Remove it and take a shoot of the subject using a softbox.

I do not like the idea of the bounced flash but could work. This will depend on the distance you have to your subject.

If you do not want to assamble them in post pro, you need to construct a wooden frame, mounting your background and make the actual holes on the windows. Put a trace paper on them.

But if you want to fake direct light you need quite some space to make your flash light look paralel.


I created a plywood board with 3 cheap ceiling light fixtures, each holding 2 full size florescent tubes. This, mounted vertically, I found looks just like window light and will blend with other natural light when using the sun-lamp spectrum bulbs.

If you're local to me you can have it (sans bulbs).

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is interesting but I'm having trouble seeing how this works. Can you post a photo demonstrating it in action? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Oct 9, 2015 at 13:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm Translation: The sheet of plywood is hung vertically. Three fluorescent tube lighting fixtures are attached to the plywood next to each other to make a 1x3 grid. Each of the fixtures uses two fluorescent tubes. The surface area of the fixtures approximates a square window frame. Use full-spectrum tubes for a "daylight" lighting effect when illuminated for the room photo. If you live close to JDlugosz you can have the plywood sheet with the fixtures attached but not the 6 fluorescent tubes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Stan
    Jun 24, 2016 at 23:21

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