Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Hello Shabby Shoppe readers! It’s Rosy here and it’s time to talk photography!
For me, this is a time of the year where my enthusiasm for photography tends to wane a bit. The brilliant colors of fall are mostly over, it’s wet, rainy, and cold outside which forces all of our activities indoors and indoor photography is hard to get right!
I’m going to tell you right at the beginning here that I’m a bit nervous about sharing this post with you, because the reason that I’ve been searching for ways to improve my indoor photos is because they really need it! I don’t have tons of good examples to show you, although I would have lots of examples of icky indoor photos, but I’m sure you all don’t want to see that!
So let’s start by looking at one of the biggest challenges…
::: Lighting :::
The number one challenge of indoor photography is getting enough light. I should know, because my house does not have good lighting!
1. use windows and doors
You want to use natural lighting for photographs whenever possible, so be aware of where the light is coming from. Use your windows or even open the door (if it’s not too cold)! Having your subject facing the light can make for some beautiful catchlights in the eyes!
2. plan ahead
Planning what part of your everyday life that you want to capture in photos can be helpful. If you’re planning a fun activity for your family that you know you want to photograph, gently guide them to a well lit area to do it in! (for example: If I want a photo of Isaac painting, the next time he wants to paint, I’ll set up his supplies on the side of the table where he will be facing the light.)
If you want a photo of your cooking or other project, don’t wait until evening to make it!
3. bump up the ISO
Indoor photography will almost always require using higher ISO settings. A higher ISO will make your camera’s image sensor more sensitive to light which is helpful in low lighting. The danger in setting ISO too high is getting grain in your photo, so finding a balance is important.
4. diffuse your flash
If you aren’t able to get a properly exposed, clear photo by simply changing the settings on your camera, the situation may call for flash. I usually avoid using flash if at all possible, because of the harsh lighting it gives, but if you are able to bounce or soften that light, it can work very well. If you only have a pop up flash like I do, don’t despair! You can make that work too.
Here’s an experiment that I did, using a piece of white cardstock propped in front of the flash to diffuse it.
Even with my ISO set to 3200, f stop at 2.8 and 1/50 second shutter speed, the photo was underexposed and beginning to look a bit grainy without flash. Using my pop up flash created washed out colors and harsh shadows, but when I diffused the flash by holding my paper in front of it I got much softer and even lighting! I was amazed at what a difference it made!
::: Cluttered backgrounds :::
Another challenge facing indoor photography is that there is often a lot going on in the background. I think that context to a photo is a good thing, but seeing all the dirty dishes and strewn toys can distract from the subject of the photo!
1. clean up :)
Here’s where you can use your photography hobby to motivate your housework! When you look through your viewfinder, remember to notice what is in the backdrop and whether there are distracting object that can easily be remove.
2. zoom in
Cropping your photo closer to the subject can cut out distracting elements.
3. find a different angle
Often simply moving to another position will totally change what you see behind your subject.
In this photo, the background has a lot going on, when I stood on a chair and zoomed in just a bit, I got a much more neutral background, placing the focus squarely on Isaac and Sammy, the way I wanted it.
4. Photoshop it
Sometimes there will be a simple little something in the background that is easily removed in post processing with the clone tool in Photoshop. I’ve also been known to change the color of a bright object in the background to help it blend in better! While this is not my first choice of fixes, I don’t think you have to feel guilty about doing it, if it makes you happier with your photo.
::: Color :::
With the variety of lighting that we find indoors, weird coloring is often an issue. If you see that your color is funky, play with your camera’s white balance. Often, one of the white balance presets will improve your color. Some DSLR cameras allow you to manually change the Kelvin color value. See Beckie’s post for more details on that.
I hope that these tips can be helpful and that you’ve been inspired with me to improve your indoor photography! Thanks for reading along and feel free to leave me your own tips in the comments.
SP will be here tomorrow with a Project Scrap check-in!