May 21, 2020

How to Find Good Light for Indoor Pictures | Springfield, VA Family Photographer

We have all been spending more time inside with the Virginia stay-at-home orders in place. I hope you are continuing to document your time together as a family and capture moments that your kids will treasure. We have had many ups and downs in our days, but I try to remember that my toddlers will only love all this time we are spending together. 

As an outdoor family photographer, I don’t showcase any indoor photos on my website gallery. However, through my 365 Project I take plenty of pictures of my family inside. Indoor light is completely different than being fully outside in the sun. I enjoy the change of pace that indoor light can bring – dark shadows, morning light peeping through curtains, windows used for framing, fun lights, and interesting light refractions. 

Here are a few types of light to look for as the sun rises and sets around your house. If you start looking, I’m sure you will find compelling places in your house.

1. One-sided window light. As the only method for light to enter your house, windows are a perfect spot to create images. Find a nice window with the sun streaming in or if its the middle of the day, cozy up close to the light. Now take a minute and turn your subject to face the window, face the side, or backlight them for a nice silhouette. Notice how the light hits them and pick what you think looks best. One of my favorite images is the sunrise with my daughter silhouetted in the window. With one-sided light you get gorgeous contrast because of the light falling off creating deep shadows. 

2. Fun with light. I find the most playful light to be in the morning or evening, when the sun is lower on the horizon and can cut directly into your house. The light is warm and creates interesting shadows as it enters through curtains and doorways. If you have decorative glass in your windows or doors then you will get lovely light refractions at some point in the day. There are also plenty of man-made lights that are fun to play with. My girls got disco lights for Christmas and they really take dance parties to the next level!

3. Multi-sourced light. When you have light coming from multiple directions or objects then you get a slightly more flat image. With a little less contrast you have the chance to show more detail in your subject. An evenly-lit photo can also be achieved by using a lighter colored wall as a source of reflection. These images have their own beauty and are still visually intriguing. 

Lastly, there are a few things to avoid when taking pictures inside. Colored walls can create color casts on your subject that you may not like. We have a blue wall in our house that I like as a background, but wouldn’t want my daughter along the wall where the color would bounce on her skin. Also, lightbulbs will make funky temperatures in your photographs. 99% of my photos are taken will all lights off so I only get the temperature produced by natural light. 

Keep on documenting those kiddos!

Thanks for reading,