What’s the secret to indoor photography? Why do some indoor photography images look as if they’ve been shot in a ten million dollar studio, and others turn out as if a two year old has taken them?
The common problem with indoor photography is the lighting. Usually when intelligent, yet inexperienced, digital photography enthusiasts partake in indoor photography, two things happen. The first indoor photography problem is blurry photos. Many times we compose the shot and believe that we have adequate lighting to light up our scene. However, what is happening in reality is that the shutter slows down to compensate for the low lighting conditions. As movement occurs on the scene, the movement is blurred and out indoor photography images look like dark streaks in a basement.
The second common problem with indoor photography is that they are too dark (underexposed). Indoor photography requires just as much as daylight conditions. It can be very difficult to replicate day light conditions when doing your indoor photography, because we may not have access to the lighting that’s needed.
Indoor photography challenges us to seek out alternate means of lighting so that we can get our indoor photography sharp and clear.
Lets look at the first photo:
How was this taken? To understand why indoor photography can produce good results, we first need to examine what’s in this photo. Firstly, as I mentioned, indoor photography requires light. As much light as day light. In this indoor photo we can see there there is a gentle, sudued light to the woman’s right. Not only does she seem to be well lit from the right, but there is also light coming from the left. We can see that because if there weren’t, her left side would almost be in total darkness.
Indoor photography like this works well bcause the scene is flooded with light. The soft, directional light, coming from her right seems to light everything up so clearly. The photographer has either placed her near a window with natural light, or used a softening light to the right.
Indoor photography requires a certain type of light. We don’t want to create too much brightness as a single point of light. This can produce unwanted shadow.What’s important in indoor photography is producing filtered light. This type of light is similar to the light you see on an overcast day. Indoor photography works best this way. We want to seek soft light first and foremost.
But what about movement indoors? How does well-lit indoor photography manage to capture sharp photos with movement? Movement can be anything from a group of men playing poker at a table indoors, or indoor sports at night.
With only an overhead light, how can good indoor photography be achieved for domestic shots such as this photo?
Even though it is a dimly lit photo it is still sharp and well exposed, being a good example of indoor photography done “right”. As the camera see’s only about half of what we do, there would have been much more lighting in this photo that what we can detect on first glance. Because indoor photography requires loads of light there would have been much more light around the men and their table than we can see.
We can see that the light is pretty much everywhere in this photo with the exeption of less light towards the edge of the photo. Lamps, overhead lighting and reflectors are useful tools when getting indoor photography images perfectly exposed. In this photo, many of these tools would have been used so that the shutter could move fast in order to capture the sharpness and motion.
Indoor photography has the very same principles as night stadium photography. So many times we can hope to shoot sporting events at night, only to find the very same disappointments. In this case, we can’t use extra lamps or reflectors to increase the light on our indoor subject. This presents a challenge because the whole purpose to sports photography is to capture the action.
So how do we do it? Indoor photography and sports photography shot at night have the two identical principles. More light needed. And when we do not have the use of the tools we need we can then do one of two things:
Turn on the flash.
Using the flash can be a helpful strategy for indoor photography as well as night sports photography. The flash can provide lighting conditions to that of daylight and can be highly effective in getting sharp photos.
The trick here is not to get too close or two far away. Indoor photography success comes from just the right balance of lighting and focus. To get the two working together, you’ll need to be just the right distance away.
This is not always possible for night sports photography as it is for standard indoor photography for a number of reasons. The players may be too far away for the flash to reach, you may not be allowed to use the flash or perhaps you are not in the right position to get a good angle for a good shot.
This is where your ISO comes in. This applies to both indoor photography as well as night sports photography. Your iso is your cameras light sensitivity. It’s not the same as your shutter speed or your aperture. The more sensitive to light your camera is the easier indoor photography gets.
You can’t do this in automatic though. You will have to use the manual setting. If you have never used the manual setting before, then keep reading the articles on this website that shows you how to do it.
In summary, indoor photography relies heavily on lighting. Get more lighting onto your scene to create some beautiful composed photos with perfect exposure. Then you will see how much fun indoor photography can really be, your indoor photos will change and so will your clarity, depth and sharpness.
Improvement of your indoor photography is assured if you follow these indoor photography tips and don’t forget to have lots of fun!