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Tips for Indoor Photography | 31 Days of Photo Tips, Day 9

Photography is nearly always a much easier beast when you can shoot outdoors. Most complaints about images that don’t turn out come from photographers learning how to shoot indoors. I often hear, “My camera takes great pictures outside, but I can’t get good pictures inside!

Why is it harder to shoot inside?

  • It’s typically darker – fewer windows, walls that block light.
  • Lamps and artificial lighting cast color shadows – tungsten, halogen, LED or fluorescent all create varying light temperatures.
  • White balance becomes increasingly important indoors. How often do you see blue- or orange-tinted images on Facebook or phone snapshots?
  • Clouds make a wonderful, enormous diffuser and soft light. Indoor light is often harder, and casts harsh shadows.

The result can be noisy, blurry images. But you can fix that with a little know-how.

The more expensive, investment camera bodies have better sensors that allow you to shoot faster inside by pumping up ISO without introducing lots of noise. But for the rest of us? There are ways to make our indoor photos more successful.

Photo tips for making good indoor pictures

  1. Learn how to set the custom white balance for your camera.
  2. Noise is visible in dark, underexposed images. You’ll need to shoot at a slower shutter speed or higher ISO inside if it’s dimmer light.
  3. Place your subject next to windows.
  4. Open your front door and place your subject in it.
  5. Near french doors with windows or sliding glass doors can be the best light in the house.
  6. Bathrooms can be surprisingly good places to shoot because tubs are often white and make great reflectors for fill light.
  7. Bounce in fill light by using silver reflectors, cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil, or foam core.
  8. Using a tripod will allow you to shoot slower. Any flat, steady surface can be used like a tripod.
  9. Wrap your on-camera flash loosely in a coffee filter bubble, secured with a rubber band for adding soft light instead of harsh flash.


Today I have a photo challenge for you all!

Today’s challenge is to shoot indoors. But – I want to challenge you to try something new. This could be to wrap your flash in a coffee filter, shoot in your bathroom, make a reflector out of aluminum foil, get creative – anything you’ve never tried before in an attempt to make your good photos great. Consider taking before and afters or a pull back shot of how you set up your shot – even if it’s to take a snapshot of your camera with your phone. Inspire us!

Post about your experiment on your blog or Flickr, invite your readers to play along, and come back and link up! It’s your turn to give us ideas on how to make indoor photos look amazing. How’d you accomplish your shot? What tips and tricks worked for you?


  1. Thank you for posting these tips! Some of them I have heard and just needed to be reminded. I’m really enjoying your 31 days of photo tips.

  2. Darcy I’m loving all your fabulous tips!!!
    I may have missed this somewhere…but do you have any suggestions for gals like me whose fancy camera is a Nikon Coolpix? It is terrific outdoors and I get some pretty nice landscape shots, but inside my photos stink. I’m going to put your tips to work. However there is the flash issue…built in to the camera.

  3. You inspire me. On a regular basis. I will tuck this idea into my back pocket and hopefully get it out before the end of the week. And before I do my laundry.

  4. By wrap the flash in a coffee filter, do you mean the built in flash?

    • I do. Since the built-in flashes cannot be dialed down like an external flash, adding a filter will diffuse the harsh light.

  5. Great tips. I have just started to experiment with indoor photos. I don’t know why I never thought of a reflector indoors. I love the bathroom idea too.

  6. These are great tips. I am new to blogging and trying hard to improve my photos for the blog and for client before and after shots. Thanks!

  7. Hi, I’ve been blogging for 2 months now & recently bit the bullet & bought a new nikon which I have no clue how to use ๐Ÿ™ I thought until yesterday, flash was good! ha. I follow Funk Junk & she mentioned you in one of her posts , that’s how I found you ๐Ÿ™‚ Wow! Such great tips! Hopefully today I can browse through & read your posts! Thanks so much for sharing.

  8. When you say foam core, do you mean white foam core? Is a silver reflector better than white foam core? I don’t know the difference in the two colors results. Thanks, your so awesome!!!

  9. This convinced me to get a reflector after photo after photo with a shadow on one side – is there also a rule on what direction the subject should be looking to get different light effect (w/ flash lighting, back lighting and natural lighting, etc)?

    I read somewhere about different angles etc, but it made my mind melt. Wondering if you have a simpler way to explain it?

  10. I’m so happy to have found your blog. I love your photography tips. I’ve been looking for someone just like you!

  11. Great advice. Will try these tomorrow. My problem is that it’s so gray and yucky here most of the year. So I wonder how much light comes in with our dreary weather.

  12. I just got a reflector off of Amazon last week and tried it for the first time on Friday. I love it! It makes SUCH a huge difference in my portraits. I ended up using it outside for two sessions and inside for a family Christmas portrait session over the weekend. I’m a changed woman! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • That’s awesome Amanda! Yes, it makes a world of difference, doesn’t it? I’m glad to hear it’s working well for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Caset Stephenson says:

    Hello! Bear with me!( Love ya… by the way…) I’m new to computers, and photopaphy, but have an extreme love for creativity…I’ve won a couple of photo contests by accident ..I don’t know what I’m doing.. Witch computer program is should I use for editing?( I don’t have a Mac)….So inspired but so lost…Thanks…Casey

    • I like Photoshop a lot. There is a bit of a learning curve to it, which is why some prefer Lightroom because it’s easier to learn. But Photoshop can be purchased for both PC or Mac. GIMP is a free program that has some of the features Photoshop does if you want to try it out before purchasing anything.

      Good luck!

  14. I got so excited to try out the coffee filter idea, that I couldn’t wait til morning, I got my camera out now. I typically get great results shooting indoors, but only after I have adjusted everything a million times. Bathrooms have always been a favorite, now I know why ๐Ÿ˜‰ thanks again for another awesome article!

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