On a warm day that is clear and inviting, shooting outdoors is the perfect setup. But what about when it’s too cold, or if there’s heavy snowfall? What’s a photographer to do when unexpected rain gets in the way? The only solution is to shoot indoors and that can be quite a challenge if you are inexperienced and don’t have access to studio space. The process of achieving the best images indoors can be very tricky due to the lighting issues. If you don’t know what you are doing, your photos may end up too dark, discolored or blurry.
Understand what your camera model has to offer
Become very familiar with all your camera has to offer and get to know it well. Understand the ISO capabilities and limits. Every camera model is unique so experiment to find out exactly what yours can do. Control the shutter speed, don’t rely solely on automatic settings. If you are not in the habit of doing this, indoor shooting is the time to start. Shutter priority mode is recommended with a speed from 1/60 to 1/200. If you decide to go higher, you may experience conflict with any sources of artificial light in the area.
What are artificial light sources?
Artificial light sources include speed lights or fluorescent lights. These sources can cause problems because the light bulbs flicker. They do so at such a high-frequency speed, it isn’t visible to the naked eye. Nonetheless, the camera sees the movement and you will notice blue and orange stripes. The 1/60 to 1/200 range allows enough speed to grasp a clear image without any motion blur. It eliminates light frequency interference. Manual and aperture priority modes are also helpful indoors because they help you manage field depth.
What are the advantages of natural sunlight?
Shoot wherever the most daylight is available, whether that be through a door or a window. Obviously, light coming directly from the sun looks natural and it is also the brightest source available. It is significantly brighter than the most intense flashes. Brightness from the sun casts a soft, even light through a window. Typically, in any room, there is at least one window available to light your images. They all can be used for the side, front or back lighting.
The following are a few tips on how to make use of windows for shooting indoors:
- Window blinds can be used as a tool to modify incoming light. The amount of light and brightness intensity can be controlled by adjusting the blinds.
- Large windows will provide the greatest amount of light, but small windows can also be used to create captivating images. If a sufficient stream of light is available through a smaller window, move the subject closer to it. With big windows, the subject can be further away.
- Some rooms have many windows and lots of natural light. Experiment with it and move around to various locations within the room to find the most intriguing areas.
- Typically, south and north facing windows will provide great light throughout the day. Make use of these fantastic sources, but don’t overlook any additional windows in other areas. You might be surprised at how much sun shows through during the day.
Lastly, never mix artificial and natural light, more light is not better in this case. Both sources will hit the subject and cause an improper white balance. All overhead lighting should be turned off, that means in the room you are working in and in surrounding areas. Light can spill over from one room into the next. If you want to achieve a different effect with artificial light, close the blinds and work with the overhead lighting. Always use just one light source.