How To Improve Your Indoor Photographs

A typical problem with photos shot indoors is often that you're shooting under artificial lighting.

Take a look at this image that was submitted in this October's photo contest:

See how yellow the light looks in this picture? This is from incandescent bulbs, which emit a low level of light; towards the warm range. (Had this office been lit with fluorescent lights, this image might have appeared with a green cast.)

Regardless of the type of artificial light you’re dealing with, however, there are a number of ways to adjust for it if you want a setting to appear natural to the eye.

How to Adjust for Artificial Light

For starters, you could use a flash.  But while the flash might help fix the yellow tint in your picture, it can also create new problems…

Shadows, for example, are often a problem when you shoot with a flash.  In the picture I referenced above, had the photographer used a flash, the phone would likely cast a shadow on the coffee maker (which may or may not change the creative look you’re going for).  And when you’re taking pictures of people indoors with a flash you might get unattractive shadows on the wall behind their heads or worse, in unattractive places on their face like under their nose and eyes.

To diminish harsh shadows when using flash in a still-life picture such as this, it would be best to bounce the flash from either the ceiling or a white board. Your flash may also have an accessory to place over the flash which softens the light and helps eliminate harsh shadows.

Another option is to adjust your white balance at the camera controls.

Most mid- to high-end digital cameras come with lighting settings such as indoor, outdoors, incandescent, etc.  Check your camera’s owner’s manual for instructions on how to change the “white balance” in your photographs.  Generally you’ll find that there’s a setting for just about any situation – indoors under fluorescent lights, indoors under incandescent light, outside in shadow, etc.  If you own a digital, then just make the correct on-camera selection before you shoot the image. You can usually toggle through all the different settings until you find the one that gives you the best colors.

If you are using an SLR film camera, a blue filter will subtract the yellow in the image and give a more balanced shot. There are correction filters especially coded for incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

And as a last resort, there is always Adobe Photoshop.  (I say this is a last resort because good photographers make their corrections in the camera rather than edit them later.)

Enter to Win!

To Find out more about our Photo contest click here and register to win.

First-time users should register first on the "register" link on the right-hand bar.  Once you have a username and password, click "Enter to Win" to upload your photos.  Only one photo per applicant will be considered.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Carol Shields has a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, majoring in photography. During college, she had a lucky break and got a job in the photography department of a Fortune 500 aviation corporation. She picked up many more "hands on" skills there and eventually worked into the staff photographer position, which she held for almost 10 years. Working for a Fortune 500 corporation gave Carol the opportunity to see many of her photographs on the cover of trade magazines. Today, most of Carol's photo sales are accompanied by articles.

Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]