Windows can be a problem for novice photographers... either the subject becomes a black silhouette against a bright background, or the glass reflects the flash as a white burst in the picture. But don't despair... both of these are EASILY FIXED, and windows are actually one of my favourite places to take photos.
The solution: USE FLASH.
But don't stand square to the window. Stand on an angle to the window so that the flash doesn't bounce back into the camera lens. If you stand on an angle, the flash light will reflect away from you (on an angle) and you won't get the distracting bright spot in the picture (this also applies to mirrors).
Also, using flash lights up the person you are photographing, and balances the exposure. The person will be evenly lit, and the background won't be too harsh or bright. No more silhouettes.
****Don't forget to sweep the background (see Tip #2). Who wants pictures with parked cars out the window? Move right or left until the background is just right.
Flash is our friend!
So, when should you use flash anyway?
The simple answer is... almost all the time. Even in bright conditions outdoors? Yes, especially then. Here's why. Flash fills in shadows on people's faces caused by the sunlight, uneven tree coverage, etc., and makes the subject really stand out in the picture.
Do you want a sure-fire good picture of a loved one? Go outside on a sunny day, pose your subject under a tree (for shade), greenery in the background, turn on your flash and shoot! Works every time. A beautiful portrait.
Coming soon: When NOT to use flash...
Still two weeks left of the contest! Post those pictures... the $25 Amazon giftcard has your name written all over it! :-)