Sunday, January 22, 2017

5 Tips to Taking Awesome Indoor Photos

5 Tips to Taking Awesome Indoor Photos

I know we are all in love with the beautiful golden hour outdoor light that always seems magical. I am quite the fan too BUT you can't always drag your mini models out (especially in cold/rainy weather) to go catch that 20 minutes of gorgeous light. So....let me tell you about a different kind of light that I have absolutely fallen in love with. Indoor light! Now indoor light can mean a few different things (window light, pockets of light, artificial light) but today I am going to share with you my top 5 favorite tips to maximizing all of the awesome types of light that hang out in your house

Pay attention to the light

Before you grab your camera and try to shoot all the indoor light you can find, take a day and just observe. Walk through your house multiple times a day and see which room gets light at different times. Grab a pen and paper and make notes on what you see. Light changes quickly especially indoors so making note of what the light looks like in different rooms at different times can be super helpful. I've lived in my house for 7 years and I still do this. When I see a light I haven't noticed before I will make a mental note of the time of day. Make note of the light that interests you and how you might like to experiment with it more.

                                                  Pay attention to SHADOWS as much as you pay attention to the light

The first time I heard this I was such an eye opener for me. Yes, we are told how important light is to taking an interesting photo and it really really is BUT there can be no light without darkness. When you are watching for light pay attention to the shadows too. See where the shadows fall in a room and on your subject. Once you can train yourself to see both light and shadow it will completely change how you shoot.

Window light

This may be the easiest and best way to use indoor light. Window light can offer some incredible diffused light almost like a natural studio lighting set up. When looking for good window light you want the light to be soft and even. Larger windows will produce a more diffused effect.

Play around: If you want flat even light place your subject directly facing the window. Place yourself between the subject and the window but make sure you aren't creating shadows on your subject. Meter off their skin. That's all there is to it.

If you want more depth, place your subject at a 45-degree angle from the window and have them look towards the light. Meter off their skin and there you have it.
You can even use blinds or curtains to alter the light filtering in.
Practice moving your subject closer to the light, farther from the light, turned towards the light and away from the light. Close the blinds, open them, or try opening them half way. Try shooting at the same window at different times of the day. If done properly you will be able to get a ton of different looks by using 1 single window. All of these images were shot using light from the same window.

Artificial light

So I know you usually hear how awful artificial light is but I disagree. Yes, it can is hard to work with but once you understand a few things about the artificial light you will learn that it can be fun to incorporate into your images.   I like I mentioned above about paying attention to shadows just as much as you pay attention to the light. Keep in mind artificial light usually has a strong color to it. Usually, it is a very heavy orange tint. You have to keep that in mind when you are shooting. If you are still learning about white balance then one easy trick is to switch your white balance to the “Tungsten” option and you should see that orange tint even out with some blue. If you are more comfortable with WB then switch over to Kelvin and play around with some lower numbers. In my home, I usually shoot around 2900-3500 depending on which artificial light source I am using. 

Another way to work around the color that artificial light has is to convert your images to black and white.  Not all images will look good converted but it is a nice and simple way to avoid any funky color that might mess with your images.

 Keep in mind most (but definitely not all) artificial light comes from overhead (think ceiling fan light) and based on where this light is coming from it will automatically create strange shadows on your subject. Especially on the eyes. Raccoon eyes anyone??  Look at your subject and pay attention to the shadows before you shoot. One way I avoid these types of shadows is to shoot my subject looking away from me or in the middle of doing some sort of activity which doesn't require them to look up at the camera. Another way to avoid this type of shadowing is to stand above your subject and face the camera down towards them and then have them look up towards you and the light source. Viola! No more raccoon eyes.

Practice Practice Practice
As with everything you do with photography, practice is vital to growth. If you are still learning and understanding light then it's going to take some time. Don't get discouraged. Keep pushing yourself and trying new things and then all of a sudden it will all click. The fact that you are even taking the time to read this and try to learn more means that you are already AWESOME and you are destined for AMAZING THINGS!!

Have you learned something here today? I'd love to see how you incorporated these tips into your photography. Post some photos in the comments or reach out to me anytime to share your successes! I am always here to help.