View Full Version : Looking To Improve My Indoor Photography

12-29-2006, 05:09 PM
Okay folks. As the title states, my indoor photography is in need of some major work (more so than my outdoor stuff :o: ).

I'd like to know how I can improve based on this shot here (besides not using the built in flash)...


The photo was shot in RAW at 1/160, 5.6, ISO 100. White balance was changed to flash and the image sharpened slightly before conversion to jpeg. Only work in photoshop was crop, resize and watermarking.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated from all of you.

Thanks in advance! Cheers,

12-29-2006, 05:34 PM
Alright I am going out on theory here....as I havent shot anything in awhile....but bump your ISO up alittle and open your aperature up some. I am sure someone will come along and correct what I am wrong on or add to it.

12-29-2006, 06:10 PM
I would definately bump up the ISO... at least to ISO400... your camera will handle that with no grain... 800 will start to introduce some grain but not bad at all... since you are shooting RAW you really dont need to worry (as much) about setting a preset WB... although it can help with less processing steps...

Since I know you dont want to use the onboard flash I would try to introduce more ambient light to the mix as fill both around the subject and behind...

12-29-2006, 06:12 PM
Awesome. Thanks to the both of you. I will try these out next week while I'm off since Gizmo is always a willing subject. I will report back to see how it turned out.

Thanks again.


12-29-2006, 06:15 PM
make a diffuser for your flash buy taping a piece of white paper too it... you can even make a bounce for it with a piece of white card stock... you can be pretty creative with this if you just take the time to try different things. But if not, up the ISO, open up as much as you can, and for static stuff (unlike the cat) tripod and longer shutter times!

12-29-2006, 06:23 PM
Thanks zacker. I will try playing around with the flash as you suggested.

01-02-2007, 03:55 PM
Indoor photography can be tricky, but you need to break things down into steps and it can help.

First off, you need to decide if you are going to use visible light, or flash. If you are using visible light, the fundamental question is if you can get enough light with your chosen lens to allow for a fast enough shutter speed to stop any action that might be happening. Secondarily, you might have issues with depth of field being too narrow if you are taking a shot of something very deep (like a group of people), and you need a very wide aperture to get enough light. So basically, can you get the job done without flash? On your camera, you should be able to safely shoot at ISO800 or even ISO1600 if need be.

So what happens if you don't have enough light? Well then you need to use flash, and you have a decision to make out of the gate. Do you want to just let the flash light up everything (often resulting in a flashed subject and dark background like your sample exhibits), or do you want to try and balance things out. With a Canon DSLR, if you set the camera to P mode, then flash will automatically be metered for your primary light. As I said, this will often provide so much light on the subject that the background is lost. This is sometimes a desired creative look, but often not desired. In your shot above, it actually looks pretty good.

If you want to balance the light, you need to think of two separate exposures. The background is one exposure, and the subject is another exposure. Most flash calculations involve the distance to the subject since the light drops off after that... so if your subject is 20 feet from the background... then the flash isn't likely going to reach it. If you did crank the flash to reach it, then you'd blow out the subject since they are much closer.

To deal with this situation, set your camera to manual or aperture priority. With a Canon DSLR, in these modes, the flash will automatically meter for "fill flash" to just light the primary subject, and not worry about everything else. (assuming E-TTL mode which is the default). Now, what you want to do is set your camera settings to try and get the background lit well... or best as you can. So you'd crank up your ISO and open your aperture... then adjust your shutter to be just fast enough to stop any movement you might have. I often will use ISO800 - ISO1600, f/4 - f/2, and 1/60 - 1/125. If you have an IS lens and are shooting something not moving, you can drop your shutter speed way down to much slower speeds... like 1/4. You probably won't be able to properly expose the background, but you very well can get it much more lit than if the camera was trying meter with the flash. Now turn on the flash and shoot. The flash should properly expose the subject, and the background will be lit much better than the auto method.