I love taking pictures of my kids and we live in Canada. Sometimes it can get a little cold and I still want to capture my kids and that means shooting indoors. I’ve been asked by a few different people for tips on taking pictures indoors. So today I’m sharing some tips.
Tip #1: Get a 50 mm lens. You can read all about the Nikon one here. This lens is relatively affordable and it can shoot “wide open” which means a low aperture (1.8) which makes it possible to let in lots of light in a dark room.
Tip #2: Get to know the light in YOUR house. Learn to pay attention when the light is bright in what rooms and what times of day. Although I don’t think my home has enough windows and light, there are pockets of light that I love in my home. Spend time looking around and seeing it, watching how it moves. And then use those light pocket to capture your kids better.
Tip #3: Move to the light. Before you set kids up with whatever they are going to do (lunch, play dough, painting, etc) move them into the best spot for light and for background. After you set them up, just let your kids be kids. I knew that Oliver and Sage were going to blow bubbles when I gave them a straw. How did I know? 5 kids. That’s what 3 year olds do when they get a straw and milk 😉 That and Oliver is kind of obsessed with doing it lately. He tries blowing them in everything, even smoothies…. which is …. messy! Instead of setting them up at the counter I put them at the table on the end of my table where the light was good (it was late morning when my kitchen light is great) and the wall behind them was plain. Then I just let them interact with each other and have fun even when the bubbles started running over and making a mess.
Tip #4: Bump up your ISO. IF you don’t know what that means go read here and buy this book. When you are shooting indoors you often need more light. One of the ways to get that is bumping your ISO. Just remember most of the time the higher the ISO, the more the grain. Although I think grain can really add to the mood of a picture!
Tip #5: Use natural reflectors. You can read what the fabulous Jasmine Star says about these here. The light in my kitchen gets reflected back up and if my kids are sitting in the right spot at the right time then I can totally use that light.
And this one, Norah was sitting in just the right spot in the basement and the light was bouncing back onto her face from a big poster paper that my kids had left lying around. So their inability to put things away helped out on this occasion. 😉
Tip #6 Learn how to expose for backlight. Backlight is actually one of my very favorites!! I love it. But it can be tricky if you don’t know how to expose for it. It’s actually pretty simple once you learn how and then you don’t always have to move people sideways to the light. You can let them glow from behind!
Tip #7: Other light sources. There are lots of things besides sunlight that you can use. This was Norah holding a flashlight for the first time. She was mesmerized and so she was holding perfectly still making it possible for me to use a slower shutter speed.
Tip #8: Let your kids be in their natural “habitat”. This is less about light (although look how I was using the window to light Alden’s face) and more about how to capture your kids being your kids. Alden is at a hard age because he’s starting to feel self conscious when I take pictures of him. But if I just let him be in his room and then talk with him and let him do his thing he is more natural. And I throw a few corny mom jokes in too.
Tip #9: Get down where your kids are. Oliver was throwing a HUGE fit and then promptly fell asleep right in the middle of the kitchen floor. I was laying on my stomach to capture this. He just happened to fall asleep with his face towards the window so it was in a nice pocket of light (how handy). It changes persecutive to get down with them.
Tip #10: Have your camera out and ready with a clean card and a full battery. It’s easier to capture your kids if you are already ready. And pull it out more often. They will get more used to it and you will capture more of your real life.