Indoor Scenes | Directional Lighting Using Natural Light

Just as outdoor lighting presents a number of challenges for capturing picture perfect images, indoor lighting also demands adaptability and creativity from photographers. For instance, there are basic scenarios that photographers will regularly find themselves in while shooting indoors, such as near windows, inside hotel rooms, or under overhangs, that call for a mastery of using directional light.

Here are some basic tips/reminders for approaching indoor shooting and controlling directional light:

  • Distance between subject and light source for brightness
  • Angle for light pattern
  • Sheers to soften or diffuse light
  • Curtain for Strip Box
  • Window tint/green shift

Exposure goals for shooting indoors:

  • Maximum dynamic range
  • Bias to preserve shadows
  • Allow highlight peak
  • Keep temperature between 5000K-6000K
  • White balance shift/tint + magenta

One common concern for shooting indoors involves mixed lighting, or blending natural and ambient light, as ambient light sources usually cast a different light temperature than daylight (3200K vs. 5500K for natural light). We normally try to avoid mixed lighting. However, it is okay to mix natural and ambient light if the ambient light doesn’t affect the main or natural light that is falling on the subject. In fact, mixed lighting can be used to benefit images in some scenarios when it separates the subjects from the background.