Photographing with Natural Light in Living Spaces

By Robert Correll

Shooting inside using natural light is rewarding, but demanding. Unlike large commercial or public spaces, most living spaces have windows close at hand. Open the blinds and let as much natural light in as possible. Unless you use a flash, you often have to raise the ISO. If your lens is fast enough, open the aperture, but not so wide that you have a microscopic depth of field.

The photographer took the whimsical close-up photo shown of his wife’s and daughter’s hands one day after they painted their nails together. Their hands are on the floor and the windows are open. No flash, just the natural light. He had the aperture set at f/4 and used a shutter speed of 1/60 second. That’s slow, but not impossible. He made sure vibration reduction was enabled on the lens. The ISO did rise to 560. Overall, this is a nice, natural shot.

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Natural light was used exclusively for this interior shot.

Depending on the color of the room and furnishings, you may need to tweak white balance to render colors as they should look. Use the same techniques when shooting portraits inside. You should be ready to switch to shutter-priority mode and use faster shutter speeds if you want to photograph people more casually.