5 Tips for Great Indoor Photos
We recently shared some tips for great outdoor photos and now it's time to head indoors! Indoor photos can be intimidating because lighting is more tricky! If you've ever struggled with blurry, yellow or too-dark photos indoors these tips are for you...
1. White Balance
White Balance is all about color temperature. For the majority of us, Auto White Balance is fine and works great in both indoor and outdoor settings. However, there are situations that call for a change in White Balance (this is done by changing the setting in your camera). Are you photos looking orange, yellow or blue when shooting indoors? If you are not shooting in RAW then it's extremely important to take the time and change your settings before you continue to shoot. See the above example for the differance a little adjustment can make!
2. Open Window / Open Door
If I have to shoot indoors...I always set up my scene and move my subject near a window or an open door. It's amazing the difference that this little trick does! If your subject is facing the window, even at a slight angle, the photo will be more flattering because they will be better lit! See what a difference a slight face tilt can make in the example above.
3. Using Flash v.s Ambient Light
Depending on the type of camera that you have- you either have a pop up flash (this is attached to your camera and flashes straight on to your subject) or an external flash (this is something you manually attach to your camera and you have the ability to point the flash in whatever direction you would like). I am not a huge fan of the pop up flash- as it doesn't give you the freedom to disperse the light the way you may want to. With the external flash, I am able to point the flash up onto the ceiling as it throws light all around, while giving my subject the amount of light that is perfect for the situation. The on camera flash can make an image look flat and one-deminsional When an external flash isn't an option, using the ambient (available) lighting without a flash is best!
Utilizing the ambient (available) light that is in a room is another great tip to keep in mind for indoor photography. Whether it be a lamp on a coffee table or a window, these sources can be helpful when you are indoors. Remember, if your image is looking yellow/orange/blue....this would be a good time to change your White Balance. The setting you will most likely need is Tungsten or Fluorescent. Just play around and get to know your camera and it's settings- it definitely pays off!
4. Be Aware of Background and Clutter
There's nothing worse than taking an epic photo and noticing unnecessary clutter somewhere in the shot! Even if you are a Photoshop guru, I always encourage photographing your subject the way you want to see it when you upload your photos to your computer. I use this same rule of thumb when taking any and every photo. Little things like lamp cords, edges of carpet and objects that seem far behind you that still make it into the photo are things that I am constantly being aware of. I know this because I have made these same mistakes when starting out....so learning from your mistakes and not relying on photoshop constantly will really refine your eye for photography and styling.
I fell in love with photography because I enjoyed capturing pretty things around me. I didn't fall in love with photography to sit behind my computer all day- editing. Although that is part of what we do with digital photography, one way to cut down on my post processing time is to photograph my subject the way intend for it to look. Basically, I crop "IN CAMERA" rather than shoot and "crop later." There are times when I must crop a photo during post processing, but for the most part, I photograph my subject the exact way I want- keeping the final image that I want in my mind at all times.
5. Choose One Light Source
If there is enough natural light where I am shooting, I will usually turn off any other lights in the room to get a good clean image, without mixing the two together. Sometimes when there is natural and artificial light in a room it can cause photos to be blurry, yellow or hazy.
If I need to incorporate additional light (a lamp light or ceiling fixture) I would definitely experiment with changing my White Balance. Again, there are times when AUTO works just fine, but taking the time to fine tune is well worth it! One thing to remember, which I tend to always forget, is to change your white balance back to your everyday setting. It's a bummer to go back outside and have my white balance set to Tungsten! Yikes!! My subject all of a sudden looks like a smurf! No good.
The above examples were each taken with only one lighting source. The first is artificial (room lights) and the second is window light. Whenever possible, choose only one lighting source for a stronger photo.
We hope these tips give you confidence to try more photos indoors! We love how incoporating little tips and tricks into your daily photography can deliver huge results! Have fun experimenting! XO. Kelli + Elsie