17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Improving Your Photo Skills: Photographing Indoors

It's a real puzzle--you are indoors and don't want to use flash. Here are some suggestions to help you get a great shot:

Lighten the room.

If your environment is too dark try adding light.

Pull back the blinds of your windows to allow more light in. Even if the light that is coming though the window is not directly on your subject (which may not be nice looking anyways since it could be too harsh) it will increase the over all brightness in the space. This is because light will bounce off the floor and onto the walls, ceiling and subject.

You could also try bringing in a lamp from another room. Those torch lamps that shine on the ceiling make great light (because it bounces off the ceiling onto the subject).

If you are daring, you can try direct light from a lamp or light bulb. When experimenting with direct light watch the shadows beneath the subjects nose. I know it sounds crazy. Try to get the shadow created by the tip of the subjects nose to either point to either corner of their mouth or make the shadow symmetrical on either side (the shadow would be pointing toward the middle of the lips).

Using windows - bring your subject to the light source

Take your subject right up to the window. Have them look out the window (if it isn't too bright) and then position yourself in a variety of different angles until you find one that makes a beautiful/interesting photo.

1. Try to stand or sit with your back against the wall right next to the window (so you are almost facing each other). With this angle you can see most of their face and they will have a really cool reflection in their eyes. Consider your background, it may be too busy. If it is try placing the curtain behind you and your subject, kinda like you are in a tent.

2. You could try a silhouette look. Have your subject stand or sit looking out the window. Place yourself behind your subject and let the exposure allow the subject to become dark.

3. Have your subject sit on the floor and play next to the window in the direct sunlight. Hopefully the light is not too harsh. This can give an interesting natural spot light kind of look.

I saved the most difficult for last

Read your manual - this is the only techy suggestion, so if you can get it pat yourself on the back cause it is a whole new world/language.

Sometimes you can go in and change the setting to allow you to photograph in dimmer light.
Three things to look for:

1. ISO - this is a unit that measures the sensitivity of your film or the chip in your camera that makes the photos. The higher the number (ie 400, 800) the more sensitive/the lower the light conditions you can photograph in.

If you are using film you first need to have a camera that has an indicator in it that tell you if you have the right exposure. If your camera doesn't have this then your out of luck. If you do have the indicator you can then buy film with a higher ISO. I suggest 800.

2. F stop or Aperture - This is a mechanism in your lens that controls how light is exposed on your chip, it is similar to the iris in your eye- expanding to let in more light and contracting when things are brighter. The smaller the number the more light can be let in (ie. 2.8, 4, 5.6 etc).

3. Shutter speed- This is a mechanism in your camera that also controls light. It is like a set of curtains that travel across the chip. The more space between the curtains the more light is exposed to the chip. It's unit of measure is in fractions of a second (ie. 1/4, 1/1000) the slowest setting I suggest is 1/60 of a second.

Check out the series of "Improving Your Photo Skills" by our resident expert, happy nanny, here:

Improving Your Photo Skills: Archiving Your Photos

Improving you Photo Skills: To Flash or Not to Flash

Improving Your Family Photo Skills


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