How to Avoid Shadows in Indoor Photography: 6 Essential Tips
Pro Tip 1: Set Your Camera to Manual Mode
First things first:
Put your camera to shutter priority mode—S for Nikon camera and Tv for Canon.
Set the shutter speed at no slower than 1/60 to 1/200 because this range prevents taking artificial light interference and can capture sharp images with no motion blur.
On the contrary, shutter speed higher than 1/200 can capture interference from artificial light sources such as fluorescent lights, lampshades, and the likes. The light bulbs flint at a high rate that is not visible to the naked eye.
These flints are captured as blue and orange bars at high shutter speed.
With the manual mode, you can also control the depth of field (DOF).
For indoor photography, reducing the depth of field is recommended because it helps reduce background noise. You can find more manual settings to help you capture sharp images in different settings and lighting conditions.
Pro Tip 2: Use a Reflector
A reflector is probably one of the most useful pieces of photography equipment.
It provides great compensation for lighting for indoor and outdoor photography, day or night. The blank, white paper makes the image look professional by providing a soft fill for shadows that fall onto the subject.
It is also probably the cheapest photography tool that you can buy. In fact, you can actually make one in two steps. How to create a reflector? Easy!
Step 1: Get one piece of white paper or poster board. If you need a larger area to get covered, then get a bigger piece. If you need a stronger reflector, cover the board with a foil.
When taking a portrait shot indoors, the most common problem is the shadow of the subject being cast onto the wall. This shadow is distracting because it instantly takes the focus away from the subject.
The main reason that causes this shadow is the fact that the subject is too close to the wall where the light is angled in.
The first thing to do is move the subject away from the wall. Add in a reflector or other light source in the background.
Then, alter the lighting position to put the shadows down and reduce the shadow that casts onto the wall.
Indoor Photography: Common Pitfalls to Avoid Shadows
The following is a list of the common mistakes that photographers commit when capturing images indoors.
Knowing these pitfalls also teaches you how to avoid shadows in indoor photography.
Using the Camera Flash
Using a camera flash for capturing subjects indoors will certainly result in a washed out, unappealing photograph. Even when the set-up requires you to increase the ISO, never use the camera flash.
Insufficient Custom White Balance
It is important to learn how to set the white balance of the camera manually. In most indoor set-ups, there are different mixes of lighting situations.
For this reason, the auto mode of your camera will not give you the best quality shot.
Learn to adjust the white balance to compensate for the mixed lighting condition for your subject indoor.
Not Paying Attention to Small Details
There are various lines that make up the scene in indoor photography. Not paying attention to the architectural details of your setting will result in a cluttered, shadowed image and off white balance.
Learn how to frame the images and create a continuous flow through them.
No Catchlights in the Subject’s Eyes
It is an unflattering portrait when the subject’s eyes appear black, sunken holes rather than sparkling and bright. This means that there are no catchlights in the subject’s eyes. The light does not come in contact with the subject’s face.
Directing the light onto the subject’s eyes is a challenging thing to do in indoor photography. To do it, use a reflector or artificial light to add light to the subject.
Alternatively, you can ask your subject to turn towards the light source. These are effective techniques to put emphasis on the subject’s eyes.
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Indoor Photography and Shadows: Final Words
Indoor photography can be quite challenging because of the different light sources that come into play.
You have to understand your camera’s limitations and maximize its capabilities to compensate the light sources and avoid the shadows that can ruin the shot.
However, we get into moments when we don’t have the time to adjust the camera settings and compensate for the lighting. These are what we call the Kodak moments—they come in an instant and once gone, you couldn’t bring them back.
When taking these precious moments, what you need is to set your camera to auto mode and put your faith on it and on the available lighting.
Let us know in the comments what are YOUR tips on how to avoid shadows when taking pictures.