The beauty of portraits is just how accessible they are to photographers. If you have a camera, you can create beautiful portraits. One of the cheapest and easiest ways is using window light.
It doesn't matter how many thousands you spend on lighting equipment of the highest order, a window with some good light is still desirable. If the light is right, you can often find that a window acts as a giant softbox, diffusing the daylight and channelling it towards your subject. Generally, the bigger the window the better, but you still want it narrow enough that it contains the light either side.
For anyone who doubts the effectiveness of windows, know that a number of accessories for lights mimic windows in one way or another, from blocking light in an interesting way, to softening and guiding it. However, you can also modify window light to better suit your needs. For examples, you could put dark material either side of your model to cut out a lot of the light and give a darker, more dramatic feel. Or, conversely, you could use white cards or reflectors to fill in any shadows that are being cast.
There is so very much you can do with a good window and a willing subject that it is a great starting point for portrait photographers and a strong learning tool. If I'm shooting for someone and the location is out of my control and uninspiring, one of the first moves I will make is to look for a window that is getting some good light.