Low Light Photography: Tips for Taking Photos Indoors

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Do you struggle with getting photos indoors that you love? Are your photos not representing the moment?

When you are taking pictures indoors, you are working with many more limits than outdoors. Besides a limited space (you can only back up as far as your walls allow), there are more things that could be distraction and only so many windows to let in light. So how, then, is it even possible to get photographs of your kids indoors?

With these three simple changes, you’ll be excited to pick up your camera indoors, capturing those spaces where your life is happening.

So let’s jump in!

Turn off the lights and open the curtains.

Indoor Photo Tip #1 – Turn off the lights, use natural window light only.

The number 1 mistake I see people making with their indoor photography is that they have the lights on. This leads to two problems. First, lights are often overhead, creating harsh shadows and unflattering light (just like if the sun where directly overhead, we don’t want that!) Second, indoor light and outdoor light are different colors, and as they both hit your subject, you know have an unbalanced photo.

So turn off those lights and open the curtains.

The fun part is you can play around with how much light you let in, but trying opening all the curtains in your home, or just a few. How much light you want to let in is up to you!

The window is behind me (and a little to my left) as I photograph my daughter.
The window is behind me (and a little to my left) as I photograph my daughter.

Indoor Photo Tip #2 – Get between the window and your subject.

Now that your curtains are open, make sure that the light is actually falling onto your subject. Until you get good at taking photos stick with the more flat light that being between the window and your subject (ensuring you’re not blocking your light) creates.

As you get more comfortable with light you can begin to move around your subject, playing with backlight, side light and more.

Watch for distractions in the photo, adjusting as needed to keep the focus on your subject.

Indoor Photo Tip #3 – Watch for distractions in your frame.

When you are indoors it is much easier to have distractions in the frame compared to outside. We are used to certain things in our home, so we may miss them in the background. However, that bright green water bottle, or neon pink doll stroller will stick out in the background of your photo.

The beauty of digital photography is that you are able to take a picture, and then look at it! So take a photo, and then review it. Look everywhere but at your subject. Is there something that pulls your eye?

I’m not saying you have to shoot in a spotless house. I’d never pick up my camera if that were the case! Instead, just move that thing that is a distraction, or move your angle to your subject a bit to reframe your shot without any distractions.

That’s it! With these three simple tips your indoor photography will dramatically improve.

So run and turn off the lights, open the curtains, and capture the kids playing in front of you!

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