LESSON 21: INDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Though photographing sweeping landscapes is made easier by the abundance of natural light, mastering the art of photographing indoors is one lesson that every photographer should learn.

Ready to begin? Read on.

Photo by Alex Ortega
Photo by Yulia Denisyuk

If you’re shooting indoors, the biggest challenge will come from variable light. To compensate, play with ISO. When you shoot outdoors with natural light, you’ll use an ISO of about 100. But when you shoot indoors, you can use a rating anywhere from 400 to 5000. Yes, we know that sounds high, but if you shoot with a fast shutter speed, you can combat just about any unnecessary noise.

Additionally, plan your shoot times based on the type of mood you want to evoke through your photographs. Midday light, which is typically harsh and unrelenting outside, is beautiful and airy indoors, while sunrise and sunset yield beautiful sun-soaked shots.

Photo by Shadzii

Another option is to forgo natural light entirely and rely on artificial light sources. This technique can create beautifully moody images. To achieve balanced and well-exposed shots, consider using the light meter built into your camera’s sensor, which will suggest an aperture for a perfectly exposed image. Until you’re a pro at photographing scenes with deep shadows and bright lights, this tool is a helpful reference that will save you a lot of time and experimentation.

Photo by Kyle Peters

Consider compositions carefully. While photographing the interior of a museum may take less time, effort, and creativity, a shot of, say, your own living room can turn out just as intriguing. It’s all in how you frame the scene, focus on the subject, and light the shot. If you need some suggestions or a quick refresher on composition, check out our guide to the Rule of Thirds.

When shooting inside, you’ll either find that you like the scale of a particular room, or you’ll want it to appear differently. If this is the case, consider using a very wide-angle or fisheye lens, which will distort the viewer’s perception of the space and allow you to get creative with how you want to portray the area. In addition, using props to style the setting is another great way to influence the photo’s final outcome. This is where you can really let your creativity show, so don’t be afraid to experiment with a host of different styling and staging techniques.

Photo by Alex Ortega

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Bump your ISO up and adjust the shutter speed to compensate.
  • Select an optimal time of day to shoot indoors, or rely on artificial lighting.
  • Use your camera’s metering function to achieve a perfect exposure.
  • Use a wide-angle or fisheye lens to distort your shooting setting.
  • For unique and interesting shots, remember to style your space.

Ready to move on to another photography challenge? Check out our complete collection of guides here.

Header image by Rachel Gulotta

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Camille Danielich
Camille is a writer, traveler, and visual storyteller from New Jersey. She has lived in the Czech Republic, Thailand and in New York. She's always looking forward to her next adventure and probably won't stop instagramming her food anytime soon. Follow along on instagram