How To Consistently Take Good Photos Indoors :: Digital Photo Secrets

How To Consistently Take Good Photos Indoors

by David Peterson 9 comments

The great indoors can be the most challenging place to take pictures. There usually isn't enough light, meaning you'll either end up with dark or blurry images if you aren't careful. But you don't need to purchase a bunch of expensive flashes and other gear to get more consistent photos indoors. Just try some of the following tips.

Get As Much Out Of The Available Light As You Can

If you're shooting during the day, open up all of the windows and turn on all of the lights. Anything you can do to brighten up the room by just a tiny bit will help out your photos. Every extra ounce of light allows you to use a faster shutter speed. The faster the shutter speed you pick, the less likely you are to have problems with blurring in your images. You still might be not able to take action shots without blurring, but your images will look much more crisp and clean. The 'indoors' setting on your camera will help your camera to choose a fast shutter speed, so use that.

Place Your Subject In Front Of An Open Window Whenever Possible

You have to be a little clever about the way you handle these shots, but if you get them right, you'll have just as much light as an outdoor photo. The trick is to position yourself with your back to the wall that has the open window (which means having your back to the sun). That way, the sun is shining directly on your subject, and your subject is facing you.

You want to make sure your subject is evenly lit and doesn't have too many harsh shadows. If you were to take the picture from the side, your subject would only be half lit, and you would need to use a flash to fill in the shadowy areas.

This Has Nothing To Do With Light, But It's Still Very Important. Get Rid Of The Clutter!

There's a huge advantage to taking pictures outdoors. Unless you live in a garbage heap, it's a lot easier to isolate your subject. The insides of our houses and office buildings are a completely different story. This is where we store all of our junk, whether we need it or not. Unfortunately, all of this junk gets in the way of taking good photos.

If you're about to take some pictures indoors, give your place a thorough cleaning. Do what real estate agents do. They go around a house and systematically get rid of all the things that detract from its beauty. If that means storing a bunch of stuff in your basement or garage, by all means do it. You'll not only find that you're getting better photos, you'll actually fall in love with your home again.

If You Still Don’t Have Enough Light, Try Increasing Your Camera’s ISO Speed.

Your ISO speed is a setting you can change from your camera's main menu, and when you increase it, you can use faster shutter speeds without darkening your photos. As long as you don’t go overboard and increase it too much, you should be able to gain a little bit of extra brightness without making your pictures too grainy.

I like to experiment by increasing my ISO speed by just one or two notches. This will let my camera pick a faster shutter speed, and then seeing what I get. If it’s still too dark, or the camera's shutter is too long creating blurry photos, I keep bumping it up until I find the setting that works the best.

When All Else Fails, Consider Using A Flash

Throughout the course of this article, I’ve given you advice to help you steer clear of using your camera’s flash. Whenever you can avoid using your flash, your photos tend to look much more consistent. But sometimes there just isn’t enough light in the room. That’s when your flash becomes your best friend.

When you have no other choice but to use your flash, try out the following tips.

  1. Step a few extra feet away from your subject and zoom in. The light from a flash is pretty harsh, and it can remove all of the color in someone’s face. Putting distance between you and your subjects helps to dampen the flash a little.
  2. Don’t forget to use your camera’s red-eye flash setting to reduce red eye in your images. Check your manual to find out how to activate it on your camera.
  3. See if your camera will allow you to adjust some of your flash settings. If it will, tone down the flash so it isn’t as harsh. Take a few pictures to make sure everything’s bright again, and keep adjusting your flash settings until you find something that works.

Remember that the key is to find light or increase light before you do anything. Once you’ve done that, you can make some adjustments in your camera, or you can use a flash. If there’s enough light to shoot without a flash, by all means do it. That might even mean moving a few extra lights into the room where you’re shooting. I know it can be a lot of extra work, but it’s worth it.

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  1. says:

    If you have a digital camera, take some test photos to see what your photograph will look like.

  2. Caleb says:

    Thanks for helping me improve in my profession.

  3. Mary says:

    The ISO tip seems to be helping - I'm one of those who knows nothing - I had to take live music (band) pics for work for a couple years. For last couple years, have been taking product shots for online sales - outside in daylight, I get some great results but have found my indoor shot results so poor that it's frustrating; had about given up, losing a lot of work time. Just tried your tip of upping the ISO & it seems to have made a difference - granted, I'm still working with a bit of daylight (most shades open; sun almost set). Thanks so much.

  4. Stephen says:

    David, you have helped me so much with your tips.thank you stephen

  5. vincent says:

    Thank you david, your tips have been most useful to me as a beginner. It is most appreciated. I am always looking forward to your new photo tips. Thank you. more power to you!

  6. David Peterson says:


    Yes, you can try increasing the ISO. That will help reduce the shutter speed so you don't get images that are as blurry.

    Like anything with photography - experiment!


  7. Lungile Jolden says:

    Thank you for the nice tips,I appreciate it.

  8. vicente machado says:

    Hi, David:

    I have already been following you for a good time.
    Since then, I have noticed you have gotten better your Digital Photo Secrets each day turning it much more interesting.
    Comparing your post comments with your comments of today, for instance, I must say you have found the paved road concerning the overall photographic issues.
    Vicente Machado

  9. Radha Krishnan says:

    The information is useful but not complete. like when you open all the windows indoor say a house. can we use ISO 200 with speed 400 something of this sort. Some valuable info needed to usederstand the concept. I have used different settings to experience however not everybody is perfect.Every photographer makes mistakes.

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About David Peterson
David Peterson is the creator of Digital Photo Secrets, and the Photography Dash and loves teaching photography to fellow photographers all around the world. You can follow him on Twitter at @dphotosecrets or on Google+.