How to Take Bright Indoor Photos
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Are you stuck at home with nothing to do? Do you wish that you could step up the quality of your indoor photos? Do you wish you had some bright, timeless photos of your new baby, little ones, or maybe even the scrumptious recipe you made? Do you ever wonder if it's possible to take natural light photos without having to leave your house?
I'm here to share with you some of the tricks we have learned in order to take bright, indoor photos at a time where maybe it's just not possible to go outside.
1. Use Natural Window Light
The trick to achieving the best light possible is to use your windows! Find a window (or several) that can cast natural, even light onto your subject. After that, place your subject so that the light is hitting them either in the face or slightly to the side. When you shoot your subject, make sure you aren't standing directly in front of the window and blocking the light from reaching your subject.
Word of Caution: Look out for hot spots! You don't want to put your subject in a "hot-spot" of sunlight coming through your window. Maybe choose a window where the sun hits that side of the house differently, chose another time of day, or just avoid the bright sun spot so it doesn't hit your subject.
(In this photo, the window is to my right side. I'm turned facing the window to get light on both halves of my face. Josh is NOT standing directly in front of the window but off to the side, as he doesn't want to block the light from hitting my face.)
2. Turn Off All the Lights
Wait a minute....we thought LIGHT was good, right?! Well…not ALL light. In order to achieve the natural light look coming from your window, the other lights in the room can play against you. For instance, let’s say you’ve found the perfect window. (Check #1 for natural light!) But then you have a soft overhead light casting a yellow/orange hue. Then you have a lamp with a fluorescent bulb casting a white/blue hue. While these do help you to SEE in your room, they will not be good light sources for photo taking as they cast different shades of light onto your subject. Stick to the natural light window, we promise it's worth it!
3. Find a Room with a Light, Non-distracting Background
If you know anything about us, you know that we love the clean, bright, and airy look. Thus, it is super important to make sure that you have a GREAT background behind you! That might mean finding the brightest room with the lightest colored walls (AND good natural window light) and then moving away furniture, hanging wall decor, or etc. to achieve a non-distracting background. So do it! Don't be afraid to move the dark furniture that puts "heaviness" or shadow on your background. Pick up the toys and minimize the clutter or objects on the floor and walls in order to draw the attention to the main focus of the picture: YOU...or your baby...or your dog...you get the picture!;)
(Our guest room is the brightest room in the house due to the paint color. But in order to make it even brighter, I swapped out my grey curtains for white ones from the office. I also made sure that the bed pillows were hiding the dark wooden headboard. And...I could have even taken the picture off the wall (and we did for some photos) but I decided I didn't want to take it down for this one. I also COULD have taken down the window blinds to make that area brighter and minimize the lines.)
4. Use "Reflectors"
When light hits an object, it is going to reflect back up onto its subject. This is why, when you walk out on a snowy day, it's hard to see because of the light reflecting off the white bright snow. So how do you use these "reflectors" to your advantage? Basically, you want colors that are going to bounce a pleasing light onto your subject. (Ever wonder why when you take pics by a red brick wall that your skin looks slightly red??) This is a good reason why white or light colored walls will work better. Or sitting on a white bedspread or light sofa will give a brighter, lighter look. Look for things that will help "bounce" the light! (We have even hung up a white sheet to the side of us so it is in direct line with the window to catch the light and throw it back onto our faces.)
Extra Tip: Clothes can be big reflectors as well! And while it is simply NOT practical to wear white all the time, if you choose a lighter muted palette of colors, they will not reflect as much on your face as say a bright red shirt might. Plus, lighter muted clothes will give your photos a more airy and brighter feel.
5. Give Your Photos an Extra LIGHT Punch!
When you finally have your picture, don't be afraid to bump up the "light and airy" look in a photo editor! If you're taking pics on your phone, we LOVE the Adobe Lightroom App! And it's FREE!! Don't be afraid to play around with the "Light" settings in the app. I find that bumping DOWN my "highlights" a touch, bumping UP my "shadows" a bit, and then bumping UP my "exposure" can be a tiny little change to add even more brightness into the photo!
That's it! Just 5 easy steps to "step up" your indoor-photo-taking-A-game! Make sure to tag us when you post your amazing "light and airy" photos on social media; that way, we can see all of your beautiful images! You've got this, my friends!