Photography is both a science and an art form, with some photographers able to produce professional-grade results in just their surroundings. Indoor photography is a little different, as you must take advantage of the natural light that exists indoors but also avoid using too much light to prevent overexposure.
The ultimate goal is to have a photo that looks like a photograph. An image that looks like art, a picture that doesn't seem artificial, and a photo with colour depth. Indoor photography poses quite a challenging problem for most amateur photographers, as they need more equipment (or knowledge) to create the perfect image. Most professional photographers use specialist lightings, such as strobes (or studio lighting), or even expensive "range of light" lighting kits with specially designed lighting heads.
To help you overcome the difficulty, below are 9 tips to help you take outstanding indoor photographs.
1. Your camera – your friend
The camera you have to use for this type of photography is essential. Check out the specifications and what capabilities it has. Understanding the kind of camera you have and its capabilities will save you a lot of time and help you get the most out of your camera. Also, always have a good handle on your camera; know how to use all its features, and find out what some of them do by reading the manual.
The more control you have over your camera, the more you will be able to get a truly "no-mistake" photo. The more power you have over your camera, the better it'll be for your photos. So, understand what kind of camera you have and how to use it.
2. Have the best Lens
Having a good lens is very important for indoor photography. Plus, a lens with a relatively more comprehensive focal range is highly recommended (10 to 20 mm). This will help you take photos from a distance, as well as close-up photos.
Camera lenses with a minimal focal range (e.g., 18 mm) will limit your creativity, as they are designed more for portraits, and that's it. Having a camera with a broader zoom setting (e.g., 10 to 20mm) will allow you to capture more of the scene, which is especially handy when shooting indoors. To capture outstanding shots, you must have the correct exposure. Exposure is achieved using the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO (Light sensitivity). You can modify these settings with the right camera lenses and learn how to use each one.
3. Use the best Indoor Photography Lighting
Indoor photography lighting is essential, as it will dramatically affect the quality of your photos. This is because most indoor photos don't have a lot of natural light; to counteract that, most seasoned photographers use studio lights or photo light kits. High-quality studio lighting kits offer filters to get specific colours on your photo (e.g., warmer tones) and the ability for you to create unique images in the studio itself.
You can choose between natural and artificial lighting. Some photographers prefer to use natural lighting, giving photos a more "natural" feel. However, if the light is too strong (e.g., direct sunlight), it can give your subjects a "washed out" look when using a wide aperture setting in your camera. With artificial lighting, you can control your lighting settings completely, which is why it's perfect for indoor photography.
The best is when you combine artificial and natural lighting, which gives you the best of both worlds. You can use artificial lighting for creating images and natural lighting for shooting in the studio.
4. Choose the correct Settings
The correct settings for your camera will be determined by the subject you are photographing and the type of camera you are using. The lighting or the photo setting will also influence how good your photo will be.
For example, a low ISO (Low sensitivity) setting would be appropriate if you're shooting at night. The lower the ISO setting is, the less grainy your image will be, making it look more natural.
If you're shooting during the day, a higher ISO setting is recommended, while an aperture setting around f/8 will ensure that your subjects are sharp. If you're shooting at night, it's best to set the ISO low and use a wider aperture (i.e., f/2) to reduce the amount of light captured by your subjects.
Remember that different camera models have different settings, so check out your camera manual and compare the scenes to ensure you pick the correct one for your photo shoot. Most cameras have manual settings or a "setup mode" that you can use however need be.
On some occasions, you want to capture wider or narrower images. Using a "zoom" lens, you can change the focal range of your camera lens. With a macro setting, you can capture very near objects by changing your close-up lens setting.
5. Concentrate on the composition
Most indoor photos are comprised of a specific subject, which is why it's essential to concentrate on the composition.
For example, if you're taking photos of your pet dog or puppy, you'll want to include as much of them in the shot as possible. With this in mind, try to avoid overexposing your photo. Most photos with an overexposed background look tacky and artificial.
The bottom line is to make your indoor photos look as natural as possible while ensuring that your subject is in a perfect position. Composition is about showing off the objects in the picture; this is critical for outstanding indoor photographs. However, you must also ensure that the objects look proportional to their surroundings.
6. Ensure you tell your subject's story
Indoor photography is all about telling a story; one of the best ways to do this is through your photography. This can be achieved by ensuring you give your subjects a unique expression.
Ensure that the image you capture can be read from top to bottom and from left to right. If you have an idea with vertical and horizontal lines, use the space where they intersect. This can be used to your advantage. For example, if you're taking a photo of someone walking through a hallway, including some of the walls or columns in your images.
To tell a story with your photos, try to make them look as accurate as possible. You'll want to avoid using stylised frames or other effects popping out at the viewer; this is called "forced framing". Most photos should appear natural and look as if the photographer hadn't tried to manipulate them.
Another way to tell a story with your photos is by using depth of field. This setting will ensure that certain parts of the image are in focus and others are not. This is part of your indoor photo composition, which you must master to take outstanding shots.
7. Enhance the scene with accessories
As outdoor photography is about the setting, indoor photography is about the subjects. However, some accessories can enhance your indoor photos and create an exciting atmosphere for the scene.
A tripod will allow you to take very stable shots, ensuring that your photo is focused and providing more control over your images. If you don't have a tripod, try using a bean bag or something similar to ensure you capture outstanding shots.
Reflectors also work well in enhancing indoor photos. You can find one to place behind a single object or use several to reflect light from several angles to give the picture a unique look. External flashes are another great way to enhance indoor images, as they'll help fill in all those dark corners that tend to appear in most indoor shots.
8. Mind the Background
Some people will agree that the background can make or break the photo. While this is true, it's also important to realise that you can use the background to tell a story. Some photographers even choose to expose the environment in their photos, which gives a different effect than exposure to the subject.
Using props to enhance your photos is another great way of telling a story. Check out the things you're using carefully and see if they complement your image. For example, if you're taking pictures of your dog or cat, try using some toys and pet accessories in your photos to make them look more natural and believable. Ensure that the items in your photos are relevant to your subject and stay within the main issue.
Some items in photographs can also be distracting; ensure that you don't have any irrelevant elements ruining your photos. For example, while a table and some chairs may work well in some indoor images, they are optional for most indoor photos and may distract the viewer's attention from the subject.
9. Use doors and windows
Indoor photos don't always have to be taken in non-descript rooms. You can use doors and windows to create even more compelling images. For example, if you're taking a picture of someone with a laptop computer, try taking the shot when they're working in front of a window. This can make for fascinating images which may have yet to be possible.
If you're taking pictures indoors, consider using doors as much as possible; this is one of the most overlooked parts of indoor photography. If you don't have any entries to shoot through, the alternative would be to use a window. However, you can use the reflection of a mirror to reflect light into your photo. This makes for a great technique that is used widely by professional photographers.
Remember that the key to great indoor photography is the setting. You'll want to use an interior that's natural and unforced-when done right, it can look fantastic. However, you also have to make sure that your photograph is taken from a perfect position and with a good perspective. This will allow you to capture everything in perfect proportion.