There’s nothing like it for an editorial shoot when you need that combination of full lighting control, minimal shooting time, and predictable results. Most of the time your ability comes with knowledge and experience but mastering your light in any situation will enhance your skillset.
So let’s discuss some tips which will help you to be an amazing indoor shooter.
Window light as just about the most beautiful light you can find when the conditions are right and It can be manipulated with any combination of window dressings such as blinds and curtains. Simply place your subject nearby the window and let the light create much of the portrait’s drama. I like to position the subject so that there is plenty of shadow to one side, providing many options for classic portraiture looks.
Camera Settings: My general advice for any indoor shooting is to think "fast and wide." Your initial camera settings should be a balance of the highest ISO possible that will still provide acceptable noise levels for your purposes, the widest aperture your lens will allow, and the fastest workable shutter speed. Of course, each of these controls is interrelated and integral to overall exposure, so you’ll have to make some adjustments, and concessions, for the environment you’re working in and the effect you’re trying to achieve in your shots.
Windows, Picture Frames, Mirrors, And Glass Cabinets: Perhaps one of the most frustrating things to deal with while shooting indoor photography is reflective materials, especially when shooting with a flash. Avoid using your flash if there is glass or reflective materials in the room at all.
Pack a circular polarizer filter to deal with the reflective and glass objects in your shots, and be aware you could lose 1/2 to 2 full stops of light, so adjust accordingly either via opening up the aperture or bumping the ISO higher. Also, take note of whether or not you show up in the reflection of any shiny objects!
Post-Processing: Aside from the creative post-processing possible with your ambient light images, there are some things you might want to address in the initial post:
White Balance: Not all light sources produce the same color temperatures. Despite what they look like to our eyes, the camera will record various types of household lighting (fluorescent, tungsten, daylight balanced) and natural light (sunset, cloudy, shade) as producing different color casts. So, if you are shooting a portrait using a bright tungsten light as your subject’s main light, but you have a strong window light coming through in the background, you might have an undesirable color mix to deal with.
Fortunately, you can correct these types of color mismatches in post-processing by making a general white balance setting choice in your software, and selectively altering the offending colors in specific parts of the image. If this isn’t something you’d like to worry about, then don’t. The colors might be acceptable just the way they are. If not, you always have artistic color altering effects and even black and white conversion options. So, it’s all good.
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