Gray Paint Color & Tips for Taking Photos of a Window

Hi, sweeties.

Some of you have emailed me,
wanting to know what light gray paint color
I used in my living room
and how to take a picture of a window
(that is, if I figured it out).

Well, I did.

I think.

If you didn’t catch my last post,
I shared my new voile drapes

but I couldn’t show you the whole window

because I kept getting this
every time I pointed the camera 
toward the window…
 Not pretty.

After flipping through my SLR camera manual
and surfing the dub-dub-dub,
I have a few pointers for you on 
how to take photos when your subject 
is directly in front of a window
or as in my case, IS the window.

You can do a couple of things 
to avoid this…
You can take the photo with the flash ON.
This will provide a fill flash
and compensate those darkened areas.
Your photo will look a bit like this.
Update: Thank you Amy at Maison Decor for confirmation on that tip!
You can “meter” before you snap your photo.
If you have a digital SLR camera,
you typically depress the button half way (until you hear a beep)
to focus on a subject, and then you depress it fully to snap a picture.

You with me?
Well, to use the metering technique,
point your camera at an area outside/near the window (in my case, it was the light gray wall), and depress the button slightly 
until you hear that initial beep.

point your camera toward your subject (window)and press the button the rest of the way to snap the photo.

Your photo will look a bit more like this.
Mine happens to be a little glowy looking
because my subject is the actual window
but I do like it better than the flash technique.

My SLR also has three different metering modes:
  • Digital ESP metering
  • Center weighted average metering
  • and Spot Metering
 I used the Spot Metering mode
which is appropriate for intensively backlit subjects, etc.
On my camera, the icon is a rectangle with a tiny dot in the center.
I am also able to adjust the White Balance.
I just dialed mine to the image with a bright sun.
Check your camera manual for your particular settings.
Changing the metering mode,
adjusting the white balance,
and using the metering technique (#2),
shifted my shots from this glowy look…  

to this…
I had already moved my sofa back at that point.

It will soon have a white slipcover.
Other than the upholstery,
it’s identical to this Restoration Hardware English Roll Arm sofa
and it’s a MONSTER so I’m a touch intimidated.
But anyway.

I hope the photography pointers help.
I’m by no means a pro and the shots aren’t perfect but I still have a bit of a learning curve there.

With enough tinkering, 
I’m sure I’ll get it right.

As for the perfectly light gray 
paint color in my living room,
it’s actually a custom color by Sherwin-Williams.
I made several trips back and forth to SW, asking them to add or remove this and that until I got the perfect gray that I wanted.
Here’s the formula:
This is the formula for a SAMPLE POT,
so be sure to let them know.
They’ll just multiply it accordingly
if you need a gallon, etc.
Money Saving Tip:
1 gallon of SW Duration Home Paint = $40.
4 sample pots (which equal a gallon) = $20.

The only draw back is that their sample pots
only come in a Satin Finish.
This gray is a true light gray.
No blue, green, or purple undertones.
I made sure of it.

That being said,
gray is just one of those persnickety colors
that you really should sample in your own home, with your own lighting,
before you buy a whole gallon.

Thanks for stopping by!

post signature
Due to “scraper” websites that earn revenue by scraping feeds (like an automatic copy & paste) and stealing the creative content of others, I can no longer provide FULL blog posts via email subscriptions. I apologize that you now see a partial post and have to click over to my blog for the rest. I try to create lovely and original content so I appreciate your understanding. If you don’t, I am sorry to see you leave and thank you for being a part of my journey while you were subscribed. {Jami}


  1. Thanks for the pic tips, you know I need ‘em!! Love that gray paint, oh you have me thinking gray….hehe

  2. Thanks for the tips! I have been trying to photograph a room with lots of windows with no luck. I’ll give this a try.

  3. Megan says:

    I wish home depots sample pots came in satin. they only come in FLAT! so much for painting multiple colors in the kids room with those little $3 guys. :p

    and I adore your gauzy curtains (and window shooting tips!) Cant wait to see your couch when its slip covered!

  4. Marie says:

    Yeay Jami – I just got my first digital SLR for Christmas and I’ve been looking for tips on how to use this new toy. Thanks for your wonderful tip on taking photos of a window. Love your paint color and the curtain panels!

  5. Erin says:

    Hi Jami,

    I didn’t get a chance to leave a comment on your previous so I’ll just double-up here! :) That gray is spectacular–thanks for sharing the recipe! The living room looks so lovely in that shade. And your tip on buying sample pots vs. a gallon is something I’ll do in the near future when I need paint.

    I also got a DSLR this Christmas and I have issues with bright windows because there’s so darn many of them in my living/dining area. :) Thanks for taking the time to share the how-to on photographing. Your blog is always such a wonderful source of great info *and* inspiration!

    Take care,

  6. Ooooh, those curtains are really pretty.

    I’ve been looking for similar ones but haven’t been able to find any… yet.

    Hmmm, maybe a road trip…. :)

  7. Hi! I just found your blog from a comment you made on Cottage Instincts and it really impressed me. I started a new blog in July and it’s been tuff getting going but your views put it all into perspective for me. Yes, the follower thingy gets to me sometimes but I’d rather have a comment anyday.
    Thanks for the tip on the photographs, I have that one setting and I’ll give it a try, also the sample paint, just didn’t know that. I’m now a follower too.
    Have a great evening!

  8. Great tips! I’ve been taking more time to learn to actually use all the features my camera has. What good is a “fancy” camera if you don’t know how to work it?

    Love that grey color!

  9. Thanks for the great tips, Jami. I also find that taking oictures facing a window helps if the sun has passed over the house or is behind the trees.

    I painted one of my bathrooms a very light gray called Teardrop. I love it. I think it would be different in any other home, even in another room of my house. Paint is tricky…

    Thanks again!


  10. Olde Tyme Marketplace says:

    Hi Stinker!
    Thanks for the photog tips! I am a sponge when it comes to real people telling you how to go about stuff like that : step by step.
    I had slip covers and loved um on my last sofa. A little tip that I wish I had thought of was to have them Scotchguarded first. Sure comes in handy!
    Love the shade of gray. I am thinking perhaps for my master bedroom!

  11. Hi Jami, I will have to see if my camera does the beep thing (metering) and try that out. I was reading the manual two days ago to try and learn more…it is not my forte! I had to try and figure out the flash on the window technique because of the custom drapes I make looked awful unless I got a shot with the flash. I’ll try the metering now and see how that works.

  12. Jenni says:

    Those are good tips! It IS hard to take a picture of a window, or the walls and curtains framing a window. Sometimes I want to avoid the view outside, and that becomes problematic.

    Oh, and I have to agree with you that gray is a persnickety color! Just finding the right gray for my furniture was so much more difficult that I thought it would be…I finally found it, though. I think.

    I hope you have a good Friday, Jami!


  13. Catherine says:

    Great tips sweetie!!

    And I do love your gray…I agree, gray can be so,…so…what was that word? Persnickety!! ROFL Love it!



  14. Stephanie says:

    Jami, thanks for the tips. My silly manual is lost and it is only available to read on line and not printable, how frustrating. It makes it hard to get to know your camera. I guess I could buy one. Or just keep getting my tips from you :). No link probably this week, no pictures yet.

  15. My friend Beth, from Olde Tyme Marketplace, told me to stop by your blog for a “look-see”, and it was so worth the visit! We both took our first photography class, today, and she shared with me about your handy tip on the window shot. Very good, I might say! Thank you for being so generous with the info. ~ All my best, Wanda

  16. TamStyles says:

    I googled perfect gray and this came up..i am going in the AM to try this color out. Wish me luck.

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