Taking pictures around my home has become probably the most fulfilling part of photography for me. There are definite challenges to shooting inside, and many of those challenges have to do with light. These 6 Tips to Overcome the Challenges of Shooting Indoors will hopefully revolutionize the way you see light inside your home!
Let’s talk a little bit about light and how to find some creative ways to play with the light in your home! I’ve put together a few tips to get you thinking outside the box when it comes to getting creative with light in your home.
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- Let in the sun!
Shoot into the light for some fun sun flare.
Sun flare?? Inside my house?
Yep, it can happen! You’ll look for these opportunities early or late in the day when the sun is low and coming directly in the windows.
On this particular evening, the fiery sunset was blasting into our little apartment, and I just had to take the camera out to play when dinner was finished.
I love the sparkles of light, the shadows, and that beautiful sun flare it created. This image speaks to me of summer evenings, when kids just want to stay out a few minutes longer and play until the sun goes to bed, too.
You’ll also want to look for reflective surfaces to bounce the light back into your subject’s face.
Here, a neutral-colored wall served the purpose quite nicely, bouncing light back into my little guy’s face and creating those fun sparkles in his eyes.
- Turn off some lights.
There’s definitely a place for artificial light, but when I can, I much prefer to get creative with what is coming in the windows. So turn off some lights and see what you can do with your window light.
Try creating a silhouette in front of a bright window – you’ll have to make sure the sun is hitting pretty directly in order to get the contrast you need for a true silhouette.
You can also use that window light to create a moody image, like this one. It was a cold, snowy day, perfect for reading books by winter window-light. It took me some trial and error to figure out how to meter a shot like this, but I’d encourage you to play with it and keep trying! The result is so worth it!
Another fun idea when turning off the lights is to hand your kid a flashlight. Reading books by flashlight adds a whole new dimension to the experience, not to mention some fun photographic opportunities!
- Look for dark backdrops.
This is a simple idea that has transformed many of my images. Having a dark backdrop and a properly-lighted subject really helps your subject stand out from his/her surroundings.
Here, my little guy is watching a movie – the only way he would sit still enough for a shot like this! There is a sliding glass door ahead and just to camera left, and directly behind my little guy is the dark wood of my piano. I don’t think I could have created a better lighting situation for this shot if I had the best of studio set-ups! Sometimes it pays to get creative and look for little details like this!
- Don’t be afraid of overhead lights.
I used to be afraid of these. When you use only overhead lights, you often get dark shadows in your subject’s eyes – if your subject is looking into the camera. Once I figured this out, I could get creative with poses and angles that didn’t require me to have my subject facing the camera.
Here, I captured my little guy sharing morning tea with his favorite lovey. The sole light in the room is an overhead chandelier. By keeping the lights off in the room opposite, I created a darker backdrop and set apart my subjects.
- Take advantage of blinds to direct the light to your advantage. You can pull them up to let in a lot of light, or direct them to create a more dramatic feel.
Here, I angled the blinds down slightly so the light would hit his face just right as he worked on his rainbow craft.
A related article you might find of interest: How to Tell a Story Through Pictures
- Shoot from a dark room into a brighter area.
This is especially effective if you can include part of the doorway, curtain, etc that separates the two rooms. It gives the impression of standing back, observing, almost being a “fly on the wall” as the image unfolds.
Here, I caught a snippet of naptime from the dark hallway outside my little guy’s room. When I look at this picture, it brings me right back to all the times I peeked in to check on him during naptime. Oh, the sweet memories!
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Nicole is a family lifestyle photographer serving Wilmington, NC and surrounding areas. Her business name, Colie Photos, harkens back to her childhood nickname and portrays the whimsical touch she brings to each photo session. Her passion is to capture beautifully mundane moments that tend to bring back the most poignant memories of those fleeting childhood years. She and her husband are expecting their second little boy in May, 2015.
3 Tips for Better Indoor Photography
How to Tell a Story Through Pictures
Bridget King Reyes says
What do you shoot with?
These are good tips. I’m a video editor so I’ll definitely keep these things in mind. Thanks for sharing!
Great tips. Shooting indoors is one of my weak areas I need to work on more! I love the let in the sun tip the most! It’s the one I use all the time
Pascha Shepard says
Great tips. Very few well lit areas in my home but I will try shooting from different areas as you suggested. I also need to switch some overhead bulbs from yellow to bright white lights.
Kristen Poynton Chidsey says
The picture of your son with his monkey at breakfast is stunning!
Lindsey @ Redhead Baby Mama says
I agree with dark backdrops – it helps take my contrast in a different direction, and photos turn out better. Too bad I have such light walls!
Holley Grainger Nutrition says
Wow! What great tips! I constantly struggle with lighting when shooting food in my house. Most of my photos use my iPhone but I think regardless of what the picture taking vessel may be, light makes such a difference! Thanks for the tips! Pinned — such a great reference!
NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner says
I’m still learning my fancy camera but I loved all of your tips! I would have never thought to turn off the lights and give my son a flashlight!
Sarah W. Sofia Knepp says
These are great tips! Over the years I have learned through trial and error that turning off lights and allowing natural sunlight to pour in makes for the best photographs. I have never thought about using an overhead light. I love your shoots and images!
Bob Gillette says
Thanks Nicole! Those are great tips that I will incorporate into my own personal photos. Congrats on the soon-to-be new member of the family, may God continue to pour out his blessings in your life! I hope that we can see you some time soon when you are visiting Mom and Dad.
These are great tips thanks 🙂
Shooting inside is often such a chore. These are great tips.
Great tips! ill have to use them!