As a photographer, you’ve indubitably faced many difficulties trying to capture the best photo.  Let me start off by saying that mastering the art of making any simple picture worth looking twice at is really not that difficult. All you have to do is combine a few simple functions here and there and press a button; the camera will do the rest of the work for you.

Does that sound like a big claim? All words and no substance? In this article, I’ll introduce you to the skills and techniques required to excel at indoor photography and walk you through a simple (yet effective) tutorial to help you get started.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

To Flash Or Not To Flash – That Is The Question

When most people read ‘indoor photography’ the first thing that comes to mind is a transient, blinding light. My love-hate relationship with flash began the day I picked up my first digital camera. Back then it was nearly impossible to take a good indoor picture without it but the dreaded light had me holding up my eyelids every single time (and yet somehow flash won the battle and my eyes are shut tightly complimented with a cringe on my face in all of my childhood pictures).

In this post, I’ll teach you how to master indoor photography without using flash. That’s right! You can say goodbye to that awful bright light once and for all.

Equipment Needed

  • A DSLR camera (I’m using a Nikon D5300)
  • Lens (I’ve attached an 18-140 mm lens)
  • Muse (Mine is the camera’s lid. Fancy stuff.)

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way let’s get rolling.

Some Preliminary Steps

First off, make sure your camera is fully charged because the last thing you’ll want is to run out of battery during your indoor shooting. I don’t know about you but it breaks my tempo. Once your camera’s battery is fully charged and you’ve gotten your muse in place, you can move on to the next section in which we’ll begin the step by step tutorial.

How To Set Up Your Camera For Indoor Photography

Step 1: Turn on your DSLR camera.

Step 2: Switch your camera’s mode to M (manual mode). Changing the camera’s mode to manual mode will allow us to change the ISO of the picture later on to give it that extra zing.

Step 3: Point the lens towards your muse in the normal room lighting and take a photo. It will look something like this.

Nikon cap

Without any settings applied

That’s not a really good picture, is it? The final image is quite dark and you can hardly see the photographed object. I’ll show you how to fix this and make the same Nikon cap look ten times better.

The problem we wish to correct at this stage is that we want the photo to be brighter than before. To solve this, we’ll need to set the ISO of the camera to a higher value. Your camera’s ISO value is directly proportional to brightness – higher the ISO, brighter the photo. This brings us to the next step.

Step 4: Press the “i” Button on your camera to access the Options menu. It should look something like this:

Camera settings menu

Camera settings menu

As you can see, the ISO is set to 100. All you have to do that is change the ISO to a higher value which will make the colors of the photo brighter than before.

Step 5: Change the ISO from 100 to 250 by pressing the OK button on your camera’s directional pad and a new window will popup. Now, select the ISO 250 and Press OK again.

Step 6: Take another photo. It will be much, much better than before. Mine looks like this:

Nikon cap

Photo with exposure compensation

As you can see, this new photo is way better than the first one though it’s still not up to our expectations. We need to brighten the photo even more to make it professional-looking. Now, let’s raise the ISO Sensitivity A more. That brings us to:

Step 7: Increase the ISO all the way up to 1600 and take a photo.

After setting the ISO to 1600 the image looks considerably brighter. There’s another problem with the photo now. Increasing the ISO value has undoubtedly made the image brighter but it’s resulted in dull colors. Thanks to my years of experience and many years of extreme meditating and research I have a way to fix this (I got 99 problems but photos with dull colors ain’t one!).

The best way to bring out colors in an image is to increase its Exposure value.

Step 8: Press the “i” button on your camera and just below the ISO Sensitivity menu you will find Exposure Compensation. It should be on 0.0 by default so all you have to do is increase it.

Increasing the Exposure Compensation will bring out the colors in the photo. Similarly, decreasing it will make the photos colors dull – definitely not what we want whilst shooting indoors.

There is still one major issue with the photo that’s keeping it from being less than perfect. Light is reflecting into the lens of the camera despite the fact that we are shooting in an artificial light-filled room with a high ISO Sensitivity along with the Exposure Compensation raised. This image is acceptable, not perfect.

But if you are a perfectionist or you like things to be just like you imagine them to be, then there is yet another simple step you can take to take the perfect photo.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Flash Compensation. (TADAAA)

It’s pretty much the same as the Exposure Compensation save that with Flash Compensation we are going to adjust the level of excess light reflecting here and there that’s putting a hinge in the quality of the photo.

Step 9: Press the i button on your camera and right next to the Exposure Compensation you’ll find the Flash Compensation. Decrease the value of Flash Compensation to eliminate the excess light in the photo.

If you’ve followed the steps correctly up till now, you should get a bright, colorful, and reflective light-free photo. Mine looks like this:

Nikon cap

Photo with flash compensation

Wrapping It Up

There you have it! Setting up your camera for indoor photography doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the steps outlined above, you too can master indoor photography which will take you a long way in your pursuit to becoming a photographer.

I encourage you to mess around with the setting in the “i” settings menu and see how each affects the quality of the image. After all, it’s only through experimentation that we can fully understand the power of our powerful camera.

Were you able to take the perfect photograph? If you have any questions or if you’d like to receive specific photography tutorials, feel free to let me know by commenting below!