5 Tips for Great Indoor Photos

5 tips for great indoor photosWe recently shared some 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

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 window light posing

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 flash vs. ambient light

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 clutter

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 artificial + natural light

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. + Helen

Dslr basicsInterested in learning more about photography? Check out !

  • Thanks so much for all of the wonderful tips! It makes me want to get my camera out and start experimenting again! 🙂

  • Great tips!

    I am dying over the shirt in the first shot (chevrons). Is this beauty for sale somewhere?

    Thanks!

  • Thanks for the tips! Now I just need to be brave enough to play around with my white balance. I’m always afraid that I’ll mess up the settings permanently (even though I know that’s not possible, but still lol)

    – Sarah

  • Your tips are brilliant and make so much sense! After reading your outdoor tips I seem to notice all these great loctions I wouldn’t have otherwise bothered with. Thanks =)

  • Thanks so much, everyone! I’m so happy these tips are helpful!

    anna,
    that dress is hidden away in my closet! eek… thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Vanessa,
    when you shoot in “RAW” mode you have more option to correct your exposures after you shoot (in photoshot) also the files are larger.
    XOXO!

  • Long time reader, first time commenter!
    Thanks so much for these tips, Helen and Kelli! I’ve always found indoor shooting tricky. Your tip to ONLY allow one light source in the photo was particularly helpful. I’m constantly fiddling with my white balance but never thought that mixing natural and artificial light might be messing up my shot.

    Anyway, thanks again! And I love, love, love your blog 🙂

  • Great tips! I struggle with indoor photos. It is tough because with the winter weather a lot of my photos have to be taken indoors, I will have to try these out.

  • Great tips, thanks! I just love natural light in every situation.
    xoxo
    Michelle
    neonrattail.blogspot.com

  • thanks for sharing these tips. excited to try them and hopefully see some improvement in my photography 🙂

  • Thanks for the tips Helen! I am trying to absorb some photography knowledge (I currently know nothing). This really helps a lot!

  • love this Helen! super cute pics too! 🙂

    Vanessa, think of RAW like the ingredients for a cake. All the ingredients are in the bowl but not mixed up yet… so you have more options to make changes (like white balance settings and exposure too) once you mix it up you can’t separate the ingredients (that would be the JPG and it’s not as easy to make adjustments in editing.)

    — another tip for white balance: make sure you change the settings back when done (for example auto white balance) the last thing you want is taking pretty pictures on a sunny day only to realize later that you left the camera in Tungsten white balance. 😉

  • Great post! Thanx for the tips, I’m always looking to have more luck with my photography, because honestly I’m not good at it! 🙂

    Natalie

  • lol silly me you did mention changing back WB settings… how did I miss that?! 😉 I’m going to blame the sugar rush and this tasty plate of snickerdoodles I’m snacking on.

  • Great tips! I have trouble with natural light, it gets dark by the time I get home and I have to use my florescent lights.

    A jewelry blog.

  • Great tips! I always have such difficulty finding the appropriate lighting in my house..so it makes it difficult to shoot anything inside but these are very helpful!

  • i really have to work on my white balance… i often have to take photos inside with abysmal lighting conditions, and always have to correct the yellow afterwards. it’s really time consuming.

    also yes, clutter! it feels so hard living in an apartment where everything is everywhere. i just took some style photos the other day, and was really careful to move the lamp cords, etc. out of the way. but then when i panned out the camera to get a different angle, of course i forgot to move the cords again. those lovely photos… marred by cords! gah!! oh well… live and learn 😛 x

  • VERY helpful! thank you so much!
    I read your blog a lot but never comment. Just wanted to say I think you’re pretty fantastic and your blog is awesome!
    Keep at it! 🙂

  • Great tips!

    May I add one:

    I didn´t quite believe it until I tried it, but it works really well. Here in Sweden it´s very dark during winters, so this is a great help those times one need to use a flash.

  • Wow such great tips, i swear you have the most clear and fun photography tutorials i’ve ever seen!

    xxx
    -S

  • Thank you so much for your tips, indoor photography is something that I get so frustrated with. Looking forward to putting it into practice now! 🙂 x

  • Thanks for all the brilliant tips, and for showing the subtle but great differences photographic choices can make – such as white balance, use of flash etc. Great post! Katie. xxx

  • These are really good tips that I haven’t heard before! Thanks, I will definitely be reviewing these before my next photo shoot!

  • These are all brilliant tips. I took a photography A level and one of the first things we learnt to do was alter the settings of our white balance so we could keep the colour of the image at its best. xx

  • Thanks so much for sharing these tips! I’ve had such a difficult time taking images indoors since I don’t get enough natural light and some of my walls are painted a bright yellow. I’ll definately try changing the White Balance on my camera. Thanks again!

  • Lovely tips! Thanks, elsie! This’ll help me a lot since, well, I take most of my pictures indoor.

  • Thank you so much for these tips, especially the white balance and external flash. Since I usually take my pictures once I get off work (+ its dark) I have been having trouble with yellow images, so I am going to try those out. Thanks!

  • Thanks! This helps a lot!! I end up taking most of my photos indoors as the weather’s so unpredictable in the UK. Will be trying out some of these tips in my next post 🙂

  • I usually shoot outdoors, but lately I’ve been shooting some shots in my newly painted bedroom – the light coming through the window is perfect, take a look!

  • I recently learned to set the ‘custom white balance’ on my camera. And OMG the difference it made on my indoor shots was immeasurable.

  • Awesome tips! I am always looking for ways to improve my indoor photography, and I had no idea why so many of my photos were coming out yellowish!

  • This is awesome! I can see the differences so clearly and will be using these tips pretty much immediately. One thing I haven’t bought yet – a light meter! Any recommendations?

  • i love all the photography things you have been putting up lately, but it would be really helpful if you linked these tutorials to your photography folder 🙂

  • I know how to use camera both normal digital and SLR type, but to make the setting based on the occasion and brightness is my weakest point. Thanks for sharing this photo taking tips.

  • Photography is my favorite hobby, i start learning last year i just both the Nikon D3100, the hardest thing for me is different setting in every place whereby there is poor in light effects. I read this blog and i found that helpul. Thanks.

  • Wonderful tutorial – thank you so much! I’ve been struggling a bit with indoor photos, and as I work full time, it’s hard to find opportunities to use natural light…this helps a lot!

  • Thank you so much for this!!! I’ve been having the biggest trouble with a yellow tint on the photo’s i’ve been taking inside. This really helps!

    xoxo-Trina

  • I love love love the black & white chevron dress the girl in the natural light picture is wearing! Where can I find this??

  • “I didn’t fall in love with photography to sit behind my computer all day- editing.”

    =D So true! I’ve also learned this when I started comparing my photos with the photos of professional bloggers. Now, I always make sure that there are no clutter peeking inside my frame.

    Thank you Helen and Kelli for these great tips! 😀

  • Nice tips. I think the images also illustrate how awesome window light is. Even when you’ve got a proper lighting arrangement available, just moving over to a window often comes up trumps!

  • This truly is a beautiful give away! Just lovely and I would be grateful to have any of these products but the one I want the most is the heartlet crowne from Olivine. I have been obsessing over it for so long now- I even crafted a mock heartlette crowne! I may actually cry with happiness if I had the real deal!

  • These tips were so helpful since this is something I’ve definitely been struggling with more recently. Thanks so much 🙂

  • Thank you Helen!! I am forever trying to ‘make do’ with my little point and shoot, and tips like these really help. 🙂

  • I saw this article reblogged on Craft Gossip (dot com) and just had to check it out. Am doing 1 or 2 of the tips but have found a lot of tips I can use (or use better than I am now!).

    I do a lot of photos to post on my craft blog on WordPress.com (buggalcrafts)and on my Listia auctions at Listia.com (buggal1989). I can really use these tips to get photos that show the actual color of some of my crafts projects and give-a-way items. Currently I get pretty good photos but the colors are a little “off”.

    Thanks so much for these tips.

  • Indoor photos are extremely tricky at times, and these simple tips have actually helped alot (:
    Thank you so much.

    <3 Heather

  • Oooh! Great tutorial with excellent examples! I’ve found myself running into these things and try to use natural light as much as possible, but some dark rooms just don’t cut it. 🙁 Boo. Plus, I don’t have a “big girl” camera yet, so point-and-shoots have less control other than turning off the flash. I almost ALWAYS turn off the flash. Thanks!

  • My photo’s are awful … and now I know why. I have been doing all of your “don’t do’s”. Yikes. Thank you for posting these tips 🙂

  • I think the best advice you can give is to just always shoot in RAW. But lots of good points in there! Nice read. 🙂 Love your blog, btw ♥

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  • Good tips! I have tried shooting indoor sports. I did cover a street futsal match and like what you shared..everything’s fast paced and I have trouble keeping up with the movements on camera. These tips will help the next time I attempt sports photography.

    Even when light levels are low and you’re shooting at wide open apertures, I recommend picking a spot where you get uncluttered backgrounds. Indoor arenas tend to have seating where the audiences are very close to the players, so backgrounds tend to be very cluttered.Thanks for sharing.

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