Indoor photography can be a real headache. Here are four tips to learn how to manage light and make beautiful shots without professional equipment.
1- We choose and adjust our equipment properly
We opt for lenses with a short or medium focal length – between 24 and 50 mm – and, above all, with a large aperture – ideally between f / 1.4 and f / 2.8.
Opening our lens to the maximum allows you to capture more light in less time. This gives a blurred background. If the light conditions allow and we want to have more depth of field, we do not hesitate to reduce the opening of one or two diaphragms, for example from f / 2.8 to f / 3.5.
If the light is weak, an increase in ISO is required. However, we avoid using the maximum sensitivity of our device, especially if it is a compact. We would then risk finding large colored grains in our photos, because of the approximate management of colors. We prefer a setting of 400 or 800 ISO, which is sufficient in most cases. We only increase this setting if the largest aperture of our camera is not enough to expose the photo.
2- Artificial or natural, we use light as an ally
We identify the hours of the day when our window enjoys the most beautiful light, then we put our model next. We avoid to face the window, otherwise the backlight will plunge our subject in the dark. If this is the effect we are looking for, we think to trigger our flash to better distinguish the subject in the middle of the shadows.
For night shots, we spot the strongest lights and ask our models to pose near these light sources. We do not forget to adjust our white balance: “tungsten” if it is yellow lights, “neon” for white lights, and “flash” if we opt for the flash.
3- We master the art of flash
Despite all our efforts, the light is still missing from our photos? The time has come to use our flash . If you have an external flash, you create an indirect light by directing the flash to a white wall or ceiling (see diagram).
Built-in flashes, built into the cameras of SLRs or compact cameras, tend to make the foreground too white and the background too dark. To remedy this problem, the flash is under-exposed to 1.3 IL. Thus, our subject will no longer look like a vampire!
4- For a successful composition, we look for the best angle
In a room, one moves to find the best angle. We are attentive to the details and the decoration. For example, is the line of chairs next to each other interesting? The curve or transparency of the glasses, the colors of the trinkets, the drape of a curtain … everything can provide a solid base for successful compositions.
Tip: We do not hesitate to approach our subject rather than zoom, especially if it is a digital zoom. This will result in a sharper result and we can easily change angle and framing.