We all know how much I loate Daylight Savings Time and what it does to my available lighting options. Unfortunately, this means I will be spending a lot of time shooting indoors. I used to dread taking pictures inside. I hated using the pop-up flash. I didn’t really know how to use my Speedlite. And the biggie? I wasn’t shootig in full manual mode. Basically, I wasn’t using my camera to it’s fullest potential.
You will be happy to hear that was years ago and now I drive my camera like a race car driver. My fingers fly all over while shooting bumping aperture, moving my shutter speed, and adjusting ISO. Now that I can do all those things I can take great pictures indoors.
And I can help you too!
Tips for Taking Better Pictures Indoors
Look for available light sources. Open up the doors, pull up the curtains, and open those blinds on your windows! This will allow as much natural light in as possible. Move your subject towards those light sources, if you can, to take advantage of the natural light.
Set your white balance. White balance sets the tone and temperature of your photograph. When shooting indoors, it’s important to make sure you set your white balance properly. The Incandescent setting is best for traditional household bulb while Fluorescent will prevent the green cast that is common to photos taken in fluorescent light. If you are using natural light indoors, cloudy will add a bit of warmth to the light but I typically stick to this when shooting outdoors. Also try the direct sunlight option when photographing indoors, if you are using natural (and not artifical overhead light), it has given me the most true to color.
Use a reflector. You can either by a reflector or go out and get yourself some white foam board. Personally, I prefer the foam board. It doubles as a backdrop for me! The reflector not only helps to give your photo more lighting but can also help with color casting and shadows.
Use a wider aperture. I normally shoot pretty wide open (large aperture, small f/ stop) to start off, so I normally have to skip this step. But if you don’t shot with a wide aperture, try bumping down a stop or two to help more light get into your lens with the larger aperture. But be careful when doing this! When you start using a larger aperture, your shutter speed is going to be slower which means you might need to use a tripod to keep your camera still! The below pictures were all taken with an ISO of and a shutter speed of 1/40 sec.
Crank up that ISO. If I still need more light after opening the windows and doors, I crank my ISO. Yes, I will always do this before I bust my flash out! Keep in mind when you up your ISO, you are going to get some grain in your photos so don’t go too high! The trick here is to test out your camera and see how well it handles the noise (or grain) at higher ISOs. These were all taken with an f/2.2 and a shutter speed of 1/40 sec.
Use a slower shutter speed. If upping your ISO still doesn’t give you enough light, try a slower shutter speed. Again, you need to make sure you keep your camera steady by either bracing yourself or using a tripod. Any camera shake with a slower shutter speed will result in blurry photo. These photos were all taken with an ISO of 250 and an aperture of f/ 3.5.
Set it to Night Mode. If you are using a point and shoot camera, turn it to the night mode. This setting will leave the shutter open longer and use a smaller aperture. Again if you are going to use night mode, keep that camera steady with a tripod or by bracing yourself!
Break out the flash! If all else fails, pull out your flash (or pop it up if you don’t have an external flash). Remember to bounce your flash off a nearby wall or ceiling to avoid shadows and blinding your subject. This will also help your photos look more natural.
Need more photography help? I got you covered with some more photography tips and tricks!