Poor lighting will always remain a photographer’s worst enemy.
Not only does lighting affect brightness and darkness, but it also affects tone, mood, and atmosphere. As a result, in order to get the best out of your photograph, you must properly regulate and manipulate light.
When taking images outside in bright light, you have the opportunity to experiment until you obtain the perfect shot, but when it comes to indoor photography, things are different. You not only have poor lighting, but you also have a limited amount of space.
If you are wondering how to fight poor lightning that occurs indoors, you landed in the right place.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about camera settings and indoor photography, as well as some tips and tricks.
Understanding Indoor Photography Camera Settings
Before I go into depth about how to fine-tune your settings, let me quickly go through the key settings that will help you take better indoor images.
- Shutter Speed: As the name implies, It’s the rate at which the camera’s shutter closes. A swift shutter speed results in a shorter exposure — the amount of light the camera collects — whereas a slow shutter speed results in a longer exposure.
- Aperture: Because it is measured in f/stops, the aperture is also known as the F Stop. Simply put, the aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera. Reduce or increase the aperture size to enable more or less light to reach your camera sensor.
- ISO: ISO refers to your camera’s sensitivity to light. A lower ISO value indicates that the camera is less sensitive to light, whereas a higher ISO suggests that the camera is more sensitive to light. In a way, ISO determines the speed with which light reaches the sensor, whereas aperture determines the amount of light that enters.
That pretty much summarizes the basics of all key settings. Now that you have a better understanding of what they do, we can go on to finding the ideal settings for indoor photography.
The Best Settings for Indoor Photography
What would be the ideal Shutter Speed?
When it comes to indoor photography, I would highly urge you to invest in a tripod. If you’re handholding, however, it’s a little different.
Whether we add an extra flash or not has a serious impact on shutter speed. Let’s assume we aren’t, which means we’ll need to absorb as much light as possible, which will require slowing the shutter speed.
However, it should not be too slow or too high, you will try to find the perfect balance.
I would strongly advise you to keep your shutter speed between 1/60 and 1/200. Any artificial lighting source you have may cause interference with anything higher than 1/200.
What would be the ideal Aperture?
We already covered how the aperture affects the amount of light that enters the sensor.
To achieve a brilliant, intense exposure, we’ll need to widen the aperture as much as possible. Unless you’re working with a tripod (in which case you can lower the shutter speed and maintain the aperture at f/8 or thereabouts),
Without a tripod, I would highly recommend employing an aperture of f/2.8 or f/4.
What would be the ideal ISO?
ISO can cause noise, which can be a real pain.
Tolerance for noise varies from photographer to photographer, acceptable noise levels are a matter of personal preference.
Image quality begins to fade at 3200 ISO, thus maintaining a balance of ISO 1600-ISO 3200 would be ideal.
However, if the room is sufficiently low in brightness and you are also accompanied by a tripod, you can set it as low as 100 or 200.
There are a few other minor adjustments that will help you get the most out of your indoor pictures.
- Manual Focus: You’ll want to make sure the focus is set to manual because the auto-focus may not properly lock on the target if it’s too dark.
- External Flash: You want to bring an extra Speedlight with you, whether you use it or not because you never know when you’ll need more artificial light.
- Focus Length: Another factor to consider is focal length. For indoor photography, a short and broad focal length is ideal, the smaller or wider, the better.
- Brightness: As I previously stated in relation to ISO, brightness is a crucial consideration. If you see that the brightness is low, don’t hesitate to lower the ISO.
3 Tips for Indoor Photography
Take some test shots around the indoor object
To begin, take some test photographs to check how things will turn out, such as how much light will be on your subject, the background, and so on.
This testing shot will give you an overall idea of how you should set up your settings.
Experiment with different backgrounds
Remember that white walls reflect light, whereas darker walls absorb it. To get the most out of your subject, you should experiment with your background. You can pretty much use everything you have around the house.
With just a single sofa and your imagination, you can take some fantastic pictures.
Try to find or make some space
Earlier, I explained how the indoor photography problem is not only light but also space.
When shooting indoors, if the object is not large, you want to make space so you can maneuver with your camera, test different angles, and not be too close and personal with your subject. You basically want to have enough space to get a great shot of your subject while capturing some aesthetic in the background.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take indoor portraits without a flash?
Yes, you can, actually, sometimes you might get a better outcome if you use the natural light through the window.
Should I use an extra flash?
Well that goes without saying, if the place you shooting doesn’t have enough light, you can try to use any artificial light
What is noise in Photography?
Noise is caused by the lack of light, the quality of the photos degrades and becomes dark. To avoid this, brighten the image with some editing software or experiment with ISO until you find the perfect setting.
I tried to do my best to include the most key aspects for an indoor photographer, and the settings are pretty much an average that has proven to work on a variety of cameras. However, they do not guarantee a flawless performance. It’s possible that you’ll need to adjust your camera with a different method.
Simply play with the settings until you find the ones that work best for you and your camera.
Photo & Videographer
A photographer with a passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the human form. My work has been featured in galleries and publications around the world, and I strive to create images that evoke emotion and tell a story.