5 Tips for Taking Great Photos Indoors
Despite the fact I live in South Carolina, it feels like winter will just never go away. We have had weeks upon weeks or rain and cold, and I’ve had just about all I can handle.
It’s true that I don’t take quite as many photos this time of year as I do in the warmer months, but I still love to get my camera out for some photos of the things we do around the house to stay entertained during the winter!
Here are 5 tips for taking photos indoors to get you through the rest of this cold and dreary winter!
Maximize your Window Light
When indoors, your primary light source still comes from the sun - it’s just filtered down to the rays that can make it through your windows!
For the best results indoors, it’s best to find a big source of windows. You don’t need a ton of window filled rooms in your home to take great pictures - just one go to spot to use again and again where you know you can capture some beautiful, flattering light.
Make sure you face your subject in the direction of the window, not away from it, so that you can beautiful light hitting their face. If you face them away from the window (with their back to it), their face will be in the shadows, creating muddy skin tones and eyes that look dark rather than twinkling. Simply turn them around, and let that sunshine hit their face!
Disable Your Camera’s On Camera Flash
I know it seems tempting to let that built in flash on your camera pop up when your snapping photos indoors and light isn’t really readily available. I strongly recommend avoiding the use of your camera’s pop up flash, as it pretty much ALWAYS leads to less than stellar photos. You get a super bright subject, a really dark background, and less than flattering light throughout your image. It IS possible to still take a great photograph inside without your flash - you simply have to find some light and take your subject to that spot.
Hop into your camera’s menu settings and simply disable your camera’s flash system. You’re MUCH better off finding a place with a little bit of sunshine inside than letting the camera compensate with it’s on camera flash system.
Turn off the Interior Lights
This one is always a little counterintuitive, but I actually want to encourage you to turn off your interior artificial lights when you are taking pictures inside - things like lamps, overhead lights, or anything lit by a light bulb. All light has a temperature - meaning it casts off a color that is warm, or a color that is cool. Your camera refers to the temperature of light as white balance.
Artificial light has a warm color to it, while light from the sun coming through your windows is often cooler. Mixing light temperatures makes for funky skin tones, and white balance that simply looks off. Ever taken a photo indoors and can’t figure out why half the picture looks blue, and your subject’s skin looks orange? It’s becuase you’re mixing light temperatures.
Turn off those interior lights and get closer to a window if you need some extra light help!
Consider a Semi-Automatic or Manual Mode
When you’re indoors, even though you can still get great sunlight through your windows sometimes it’s still not quite enough and you have to adjust your camera settings to help you get a little more light into the camera.
I’m a huge proponent of hopping OUT of automatic mode, and being the boss of your camera - telling it EXACTLY what it needs to do to take a great picture for you. Automatic mode is your camera’s best guess at how you want to “expose” your image.
Unfortunately, the camera has no idea what artistic look and feel you want to have to your photo, and often times it just simply gets it wrong, leading to blur in all the wrong places, and a dark and dreary look when what you really wanted was something light and bright!
Taking your camera out of automatic mode and into a semi-automatic or manual mode allows you to take control over how your camera senses and records light. You’ll get so much more control over your photos, especially indoors.
While manual mode will always be kind in my book, my favorite semi-automatic mode is aperture priority. It’s a great way to dip your toes into the manual mode pool. Pop your camera into aperture priority, and take your aperture down to the lowest your lens will allow. Want more details on this? Check out this post on choosing the right lens for your camera.
It’s a simple fact that the only way to get better at something is to practice that skill. Taking photos indoors is different than you may be used to if you mostly shoot outside! The light is a little different, and sometimes figuring out your angles in relation to the window can take some figuring out!
Practice should be fun and not overwhelming. I recommend a few simple 5-10 minute practice sessions a couple times a week. I promise, if you dedicate the time and energy to learning to take photos indoors, you’ll see improvements in no time!
Are you ready to finally take control of your DSLR?
I hear it all the time - I bought this camera so I could take beautiful photos of my kids, but I’m frustrated I’m not getting the photos I want! The truth is that right out of the box - that camera isn’t gonna do you much good. You have to learn to work your tools to get the results your after! Enroll in my FREE 5 Days to Better Photos Course to kickstart your photography journey, and see results in less than a week.