Football Tips

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Here are just a few tips to help you get better football pictures this fall.

First arrive early and setup your gear for shooting sports. I recommend using the AUTO ISO setting the shutter speed to 1/2000 and having the range of the ISO from lowest to the highest that your camera recommends.

The Nikon D4 recommend ISO 100 – 12800 and if you need to for certain situation you can push this ISO as high as 204800, but anything above 12800 you will notice significant levels of noise. But sometimes that is all you can do on some High School football fields.

I would also use Custom White Balance using the ExpoDisc. I recommend setting the white balance with your shutter speed below 1/100 so that you get a more accurate reading. Then set your shutter speed to 1/2000. The Sodium Vapor lights used at some many venues has the same problem as fluorescent lights–they are pulsing rather than a constant light source.

Link to my Nikon D4 Settings for Sports


Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

With the cameras all set the next thing is you really need to pick a team to feature for the moment. It is very difficult to cover both teams at the same time. When you pick a team then try and stay in front of the direction they a facing when they line up.

I love to use longer lenses like the 600mm and shoot from an end zone.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1600

In this photo I have been able to capture the Titans defense pursing the quarterback.  So the caption works really well for this photo.

St. Pius X Golden Lions #18 QB Reed Egan looks for open man down field while Blessed Trinity Titans #74 Matthew Castner and #16 JD Bertrand pursue him Friday night August 28, 2015 in Roswell, GA.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Blessed Trinity Titans #16 JD Bertrand out runs St. Pius X Golden Lions #8 Cameron Fannon for first touchdown Friday night August 28, 2015 in Roswell, GA.

I was able to get this break away play because I was out in front of where they are going and not where they have been.

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250

The other thing about being down field is the background for the most part is a lot cleaner than the side lines.

For this last photo: Blessed Trinity Titans #13 Conor Davis looks for some running room while being pursued by St. Pius X Golden Lions #2 Winston O’Striker Friday night August 28, 2015 in Roswell, GA.

Try to be in a position where you are seeing the faces of your team rather than the backs of their helmets.

Best Advice for Football

Learn all you can about the game, the team and the plays they like to run. You should be as prepared as the visiting team coaches are for the game to be able to anticipate the plays so you can be in position to capture the play as it unfolds. You cannot get consistent good photos from always reacting to what is happening. You get great results from anticipating.

How to add HSS Sync to the latest cameras using PocketWizard Flex system

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000

Getting this type of photo of the hummingbird I used the PocketWizard Flex system to help trigger my Nikon SB-900 and SB-800 flashes using TTL HSS.

I started to shoot this with my Nikon D750, but it wasn’t working. I quickly realized the PocketWizard system wasn’t working with the Nikon D750. That was easy to fix.

I fired up the Macbook Pro and plugged my PocketWizard TT5 and later the mini TT1 and updated the firmware to the latest version.

In case you wonder what is up with the green tape, I use it to help me know which channel is assigned to that PocketWizard.

I have the small Mini TT1 on the camera with the AC-3 on top. I have A Channel marked Orange and C Channel marked Green.

First thing I had to do was update the PocketWizard Utility to the latest 1.58 version.

While on the website to update the Utility I noticed the list of all the hardware and the latest firmware. You can click on the release notes to see what they improved.

Once I downloaded the software I then had to install it.

Then the PocketWizard Utility alerted me to download the latest firmware. I had the PocketWizard TT5 plugged in so it knew which firmware I needed.

After the update the Utility shows you a picture of the device you have plugged in with serial number and gives you all the specs including which firmware version is installed.

Now I can easily use the system with my Nikon D750 which was newer than the PocketWizards, thus the reason for the need for a firmware upgrade.

PocketWizard’s newest firmware platform taps into the camera’s digital communications to enable an entirely new level of remote flash capability through our proven radio system. ControlTL allows remote i-TTL for Nikon CLS / i-TTL systems as well as Manual Power Control.  ControlTL firmware is configurable and upgradeable for “future-proof” continuous improvement.


Go to all the websites of your camera gear and be sure all your gear has the latest firmware. If you are not sure on how to do this just use Google and search for your camera gear and also add the word firmware.

Photographing Hummingbirds with Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S & High Speed Sync Flash

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000

The hummingbird bird feeder we have is close to the house. I have a door with a lot of window panes that I put the two hot shoe flashes using TTL to control their output.

I kept the camera on a tripod so when the hummingbirds came I had very little to do except shoot.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000
The color is so much better than with just available light.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Nikon SB-900, Nikon SB-800, PocketWizard Transceiver TT5, PocketWizard Mini TT1, AC-3, ISO 6400, ƒ/10, 1/2000
For comparison this is the photo I posted yesterday shot with the Fuji X-E2 and the 55-200mm.
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/2000
You just can’t shoot high speed sync flash with the Fuji system that I know how to do. Maybe later.

Capturing Hummingbirds with Fuji X-E2 with 55-200mm

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 5000, ƒ/6.4, 1/2000

In the past I may have accidentally gotten a photo of a hummingbird, but now with a feeder on our back porch I think I will make a better attempt for the first time.

I am realizing the placement of the feeder may need to change and I may need strobes to really make these fast birds pop.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.4, 1/2500

So to take these photos I had my Fujifilm X-E2 camera on a tripod and to fire the camera I used the Android Fuji app.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.4, 1/2500

The reason I did this is as I stood their with the camera the birds would come flying in and quickly see me behind the glass and take off. Either I build a blind, which I just might do to hide me from the birds or I can just use the remote and go and sit down and wait till I see the pop into view on the screen of my phone.

The only thing is there is a delay with the shutter.


Here the screen grabs from the app:



The APP will disconnect you from your present Wi-Fi connection and look for the Fuji X-E2.
Once connected you can touch the screen for where you want the camera to focus as long as you are in AF mode.  You can control all the functions of the camera that I could test.
Now that I have capture a few photos of the hummingbird I will now try to get a better photo going forward and hopefully a few different breeds.

Are you stuck in Ground Hog Day like Bill Murray’s character Phil was in the 1993 movie?

Back in 1993 Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell starred in Groundhog Day. It was a story where a weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

He is learning from his mistakes and even intentionally makes bad choices due to his bad attitude.

While I would love to wake up each day looking like I did in college that just isn’t happening.

Here I am with my Nikon FM2 and the Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/4. The ƒ/2.8 hadn’t been made at this time.

The lesson of Groundhog Day was really simple, you don’t get 2nd chances so do your best to make your actions positive. You reap what you sow as the saying goes.

“Moore’s law” is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years. The observation is named after Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, whose 1965 paper described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit,[note 1] and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975, looking forward to the next decade, he revised the forecast to doubling every two years. – Wikipedia

Since 1975 until a couple of years this was still holding pretty true. The impact this had on the rest of society and particular photography was incredible.

Just in the last 14 months Sony has introduced 11+ top end mirrorless cameras. A few years ago we were talking about short duration flash to stop objects and now we are talking about High Speed Sync as a way to stop action using strobes.

photo by Robin Rayne Nelson


How much have you spent on gear the last few years and then how much have you spent on education? Most of us would benefit by spending more on education than on gear.

Here are some great educational opportunities I recommend for example:

photo by Robin Rayne Nelson
I believe the best way to learn is by doing and having someone with you teaching you as you are doing. The workshops I lead are more about hands on experience and the instructors speaking into your project as you work on it. 
Bill Murray’s character Phil in the movie Groundhog Day used the repeat of a day as a workshop where he learned from his mistakes. Since Groundhog Day movie is fictional we have to look for other ways to learn how to make the best choices so we can stop the insanity of not growing but just feeling miserable. 
I would love to work with you and help you develop some new skills to help you be better prepared and able to anticipate what clients need. Give me a call or write to me so I can save a spot for you this January in Chiapas, Mexico.

President Jimmy Carter and my fellow Photojournalists have something in common

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500

I was blessed today to see in person former President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School at his hometown church Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/3.5, 1/15

To get this opportunity I realized last week when he announced his diagnosis with cancer that I had put off hearing him teach for too long. I immediately went to the church’s website to see when he was teaching. Here is where you go to see when he is teaching

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

I was there when every network was there covering the lesson. You can here some of the sound bites from today’s lesson here.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/8, 1/250

 After the service my wife and I had our photo taken with the Carters.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 10000, ƒ/8, 1/500

The Atlanta Journal & Constitution sent Ben Gray to cover the event. I was enjoying watching my colleagues work while I was just taking it easy being a spectator.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/500

Here is the Associated Press photographer David Goldman acknowledging he is on the other side of the lens for once.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1100, ƒ/8, 1/500

Here Ben Gray is taking a photo of the caption information and being sure it is with the photo for later when he is sending this back to the office for publication. In the background is David Goldman talking to a subject he just finished interviewing.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 200, ƒ/3.5, 1/500

I ran into Ben Gray later downtown where he was filing photos from outside the store while his family is inside shopping. He brought his family to enjoy the historical moment with him.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1600, ƒ/8, 1/500

You could see the media taking places where they could find them. Here another photographer is editing and filing under tree in front of Maranatha Baptist Church.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/160

Just the day before I hosted the Christians in Photojournalism group at my church in Roswell. Here is Patrick Murphy-Racey, a Sony Artisan, giving us the inside scoop on Sony’s latest cameras.

In the past Ben Gray has been the keynote speaker. Other times we have had other journalists speak. It is important for photojournalists to know their colleagues. We try to help each other when and where we can, but we still must also work hard to get the angle others are missing.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/140

Here David Stembridge is sharing some of his work to the group during our 5-minute shows. This is where anyone can show their work to the group in just 5-minutes.

You see photojournalists care deeply. They care for their subjects and they care for the public. We care that we are informed about our fellow man.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/160

Just like President Jimmy Carter was a statesman he was also a Sunday School Teacher. Today was lesson 698 in Plains, GA. Here is photojournalist Patrick Murphy-Racey who is also a Catholic Deacon blending the technical aspects of photography with his faith.

Patrick said “They say you can never step into the same stream of water, because the water is constantly moving. This is why I must stay abreast of technology, because when I step on the floor each morning from my bed just like the stream I cannot expect it to be the same as yesterday.”

Today President Carter boiled down the responsibilities of the Christian as simply as “loving the Lord your God with all your heart and to also love the person in front of you, not matter friend or enemy.”

He talked today about dealing with conflict. He said “in real estate it is all about location, location, location. In conflict resolution it is all about communication, communication, communication.”

While President Jimmy Carter saw his calling as through public service by holding public office photojournalists see our calling as the role of the communicator. We are helping make our world a better place to live through helping us see our conflicts and helping us see the solutions as well.

President Jimmy Carter and photojournalists believe in serving and the key for our effectiveness is in our ability to communicate.

Shooting HS Football Look for Competition

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000

Here are four photos from the same play. Which one would you choose to use if you were the editor for a publication?

Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
The runner is now further down the field.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
I think the first two are better than the last one because you can see the other team just missing tackles. This gives you a sense of competition.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 3600, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Now this last photo is the runner actually scoring. Is this as important as creating the tension of the actual play? You can say in the caption he scored.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Here the defensive player is reaching for the ball and it makes you wonder will he go down?
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250
Now this photo you pretty much know the guy is going down. So not as much tension.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/800
Here this runner is going out of bounds. Not even the team is all that concerned in this photo. Not that much tension.
Nikon D4, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000
Notice the difference here where the offensive player may get by and the defensive team on the sidelines is wondering as well with all those expressions.
Now you can’t make this happen, but you can position yourself to get more possibilities when it happens. I like to shoot from the endzone to capture more expressions and people running towards the goal which is where I am. The players look like they are running in the direction of the audience.

Throw Back Thursday tips for copying old photographs

Throw back Thursday

If you are on social media you know that today people post old photos and remember loved ones. This is a photo of me and my little sister with our great grandmother “Mama Benfield”.

Our family had a print of this and this is how I made a copy of the photo.

I put the photo on a table and using a tripod put the camera parallel to the table. I put two hot shoe flashes off to the sides at 45º to the table. Got a good exposure and custom white balance.

The reason for the custom white balance is to counter act any color bounce from the room.

Then I just took a stack of photos and copied away shooting in RAW.

My grandfather R. Knolan Benfield

My grandmother Emma Hartsell Benfield

My mother Bonita Benfield Leary

My sister Emma and my Dad David Leary with me

My sister Emma, my grandfather “Daddy B” and grandmother “Nana B”

I brought all the photos into Lightroom. Kept them in color and made adjustments using the sliders. Here is the first photo.

After I made all the adjustments using Temp and Tint even for contrast control then I switched the photo to Black and White before exporting.

The good news with all this copy work is now they are digitized and searchable.

After I exported the images as JPEGs I opened them with PhotoMechanic, which I prefer over Lightroom when working in metadata and identified each photo in the caption. Now for the first time we know when for example my mother had this photo taken of her.

Now on PC or Mac when you search for “Bonita Leary 3rd Grade” this photo will pop up in the search even if you don’t have the software to see the embedded text.

As you scan old slides, negatives and then make copies of your prints be sure to add the text so they are searchable and in the future your family will know the who, what, where, why and when for the photos. This will make them even more valuable to the generations that come after us.

Why Photography/Photojournalism is an Awesome Career

Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 160, ƒ/8, 1/100

This simple photo of Claudio Cesar Aguirre who is helping run a Chicken Coop in San Esteban, Olancho, Honduras helped to get funds for micro loans to help the community change. Now people are living longer healthier lives and are better educated.

Yes there are countless examples of where photos have changed the course of history from the civil rights movement, help to change public opinion on the Vietnam War, help to end the apartheid in South Africa and recently has the public upset about ISIS.

Do you want to make the world a better place to live? If you are a person that sees injustice happening to people and feel people need to do something then this might be the best job you could ever have.

People become doctors, lawyers, social workers, nurses and many other professions to make a difference in people’s lives.

What if instead of being a doctor taking care of patients you were the researcher in pharmacy and came up with a cure for a disease? Think about how your discovery would help more people than you could have ever seen in your lifetime.

What if instead of being a defense attorney you became an elected official and changed policy? You could impact far more than one person at a time.

Being a photographer has that kind of compounded interest impact. You can’t go all over the world and share the story one-on-one, but your photos can. Many of my photos have been seen by literally millions of people. Not all the photos have the impact I wish, but many have and will.

John Howard Griffin having lunch with shoe shine man in New Orleans for his research for the book Black Like Me. photo by Don Rutledge 1959

Over fifty years ago, John Howard Griffin published a slim volume about his travels as a “black man.” He expected it to be “an obscure work of interest primarily to sociologists,” but Black Like Me, which told white Americans what they had long refused to believe, sold ten million copies and became a modern classic. Read more … 

The book Black Like Me had a great deal of impact due to the photos that Don Rutledge made of Griffin traveling the South. This helped to make his claims real. That work had a profound affect on the Civil Rights Movement.

photo by Dorothea Lang February 1936

Another photo still having impact on how we see poverty and the depression.

The photograph that has become known as “Migrant Mother” is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month’s trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

Spinner in Vivian Cotton Mills, Cherryville, N.C. photo by Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine’s photographs of children working as slave labor in plants was instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States.

“Eugene Richards’s wrenching photographic study of the culture of cocaine in three inner-city neighborhoods gives faces to some of the victims of addiction. It provides a shocking and heartrending picture of the damage inflicted by the drug.”
–Charles Hagen, The New York Times  

“Eugene Richards’s seventh book, Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue, reaffirms his position as the premier chronicler of the dark side of American life he is the true heir to the mantle of the legendary W. Eugene Smith.”
–American Photo

Early in his career Eugene Richards was a social activists that realized the power of the camera to influence change more than he could do alone.
Check out his website to see more compelling stories about our culture. 
Sebastião Salgado is another photographer using photos to make the public pay attention to crisis. One of his books Workers is very powerful imagery that makes you wonder about the progress we have made with technology. Salgado is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. 
He began work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he first started seriously taking photographs. He chose to abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973, working initially on news assignments before veering more towards documentary-type work. Salgado initially worked with the photo agency Sygma and the Paris-based Gamma, but in 1979, he joined the international cooperative of photographers Magnum Photos. He left Magnum in 1994 and with his wife Lélia Wanick Salgado formed his own agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris, to represent his work. He is particularly noted for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations.
Cornell Capa, founding director of the International Center of Photography, introduced the idea of the “concerned photographer” in the mid-20th century and maintained that cameras could catalyze necessary change rather than just preserving an image of the situation that needed it. 
I believe most photojournalists are social advocates at their heart. They care for those who they photograph and share those stories with the world with the hopes that change takes place by the story being told.
Gear needed
One could do a great deal with a smart phone today. They could take photos and then write text to go long with the photos and post them to a blog on the internet and reach the world. Many will choose a better camera and a computer to do this even more effectively to tell stories.
Training Needed
It isn’t enough to have equipment you need to know how to use the gear and how to get the most out of your gear.
Besides technical knowledge of how to use your gear to capture and write your stories you need a deeper knowledge. You need to know the subject like an expert in that field, so that you understand the story enough to know what is the essence of the story that needs to be told.
You need to understand the the techniques of storytelling. This takes a great deal of time to master from a mentor and coach.
You need to have a good understanding of your audience. You need to know how to peak their interest and move them beyond the emotions of laughter and tears to action. 
“Revolution”by the Beetles
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
Do you want to change the world? Then it takes commitment and real passion. Your first step should be to find a workshop or even better a college where you can learn the skills of photography and take courses on the subjects that you want to impact the most.
Don Rutledge had an undergraduate degree in psychology and started work on his masters as well. Dorothea Lang studied art at Columbia University. Hine studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University and New York University. He became a teacher in New York City at the Ethical Culture School, where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. 
Eugene Richards received a BA in English from Northeastern University plus graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were supervised by photographer Minor White.
Salgado initially trained as an economist, earning a master’s degree in economics from the University of São Paulo in Brazil.


Picking up a camera and just shooting away and posting to social media will not get the results. You need strong images with a storyline to engage your audience. The moral of this blog post is go and enroll in workshops, a college program and plan on your first attempts as part of the learning. To become a master you must put in the time.

All the examples went on for college degrees which helped them prepare to change the world. Go and do likewise.

Window Light shooting with Fujifilm X-E2 & Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G

Fujifilm X-E2, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, Nikon AI Mount Lens to Fujifilm FX Mount Camera Adapter, ISO 2500, ƒ-wide open, 1/500

Window light is not all the same when it comes to shooting portraits.  Having your subject face directly towards the window give you a very flat light, similar to your on camera flash. The second photo the subject is looking straight to the window.

In the first photo the subject is about 45º angle from the window.

Fujifilm X-E2, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, Nikon AI Mount Lens to Fujifilm FX Mount Camera Adapter, ISO 5000, ƒ-wide open, 1/500

Notice how the face has more shape from the light coming from the side rather than straight on to the face?

Fujifilm X-E2, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, Nikon AI Mount Lens to Fujifilm FX Mount Camera Adapter, ISO 5000, ƒ-wide open, 1/500

Here the window is directly behind the subject. The room is kicking the light back to help fill in the shadows. You are very close to creating a silhouette like below.

Just because the subject has window light doesn’t mean it is great. It is the direction of that window light that makes a HUGE difference.

My suggestion is to do some test shots where you shoot moving the subject and you. Then before you do the real shots, pull them up on your computer and examine them. Then pick the few angles you liked the most and recreate those lighting conditions and shoot away now looking for great expressions.