Indoor Photography, Camera Flash or Not!?

I have taken off most of the summer off from my photography posts to spend time with my sweeties, but I have to say I’ve missed the evenings before a post where my hubby and I sat around and talked photography.  Guess what…it’s back on!  Today, I’m real excited to start a short series on Indoor Photography!  Today’s topic: Should I use my camera flash?!?

There are several fun tips that can help improve your indoor photography, but as we’ve worked through every other course slowly, let’s do the same here!  Today’s topic: How to Take Great Pictures Indoors, Camera Flash or Not?!  Unlike most of our other tutorials, this one will focus a little more on the why behind the lesson!  You have probably heard this before, but the most important rule to indoor photography is…

Don’t use your camera’s attached flash

(If you have a diffuser, that may work, but our preference is, leave it alone.)

What’s your norm?  Do you take pictures with your camera’s flash!?!  Have you ever noticed the difference between a picture taken with flash by your camera and a true portrait!?  On the camera flash photography most of the time makes us look hideously ugly…okay maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it definitely isn’t a flattering look.  That’s probably all you need to be convinced, but just in case inquiring minds want to know, here’s why…

Flash photography comes straight from the camera which is extremely harsh light.  The harsh light causes the subject to loose dimension.  The light is so strong that is washes away features and true coloring.  The shadows that give you your personal look…your cheekbones, brow, and jaw line all loose shape with the on the camera flash.  Not only does on the camera flash photography cause a person to lack dimension and look washed out, it does the same for anything you’re attempting to photograph…food, crafts, and animals!  Results:  Dull and Boring!

So what’s the alternative!?!  There are a couple, but for today, let me make mention of natural light and why it works!  Natural like absorbs light from all directions allowing the fine features of your precious children or whatever product you’re capturing to have depth.  This may just be one of those things that hands on exploring will clear up any uncertainty remaining!  What I’d love for you to do is to capture a quick pic of a subject with your on the camera flash.  Done!?

Okay now, go to a window in your home and use your feet to move around until you are at a good angle for capturing your subject with the light falling down on it!  This seems super easy, but the key really is, moving around.  When on the lookout for natural light, it may not just be your feet that are moving…I often give my kitchen table a swift nudge away from the window so I can squeeze myself and my camera in that little space and with my back to the window and the light pouring in on my subject, capture a brag worthy picture!

During different parts of the day, my windows offer me more options.  Below I took a picture in my family room that wasn’t crazy well lit, but the results were good.   I set my camera to ISO 1600, Aperture 3.5 and Shutterspeed 50.  Here’s a peek at my results…unedited.  Huge difference right!  What do you think?  Which picture was flashed with my on the camera flash!?!  First or Second!?!

Ready to give it a try!?  If you need a little metering fresher, it’s here…and all the photography tutorials are here.  Oh and if you’re brand new, you’ll definitely want to start here…there’s so much to learn, I don’t want you to miss a thing!  I’m excited to hear back about your results!  I’ll give you some more indoor photography tips real soon, until then…practice practice!

Click here for where I link up! .

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  1. Hi Aimee: This is a helpful tip. I try to avoid using the flash, so glad to know I’m on the right track!

  2. Nicole says:

    Great tip – I never realized how hideous camera flashes were until I stopped using them for blog pics. Now I never use a flash for my personal pics too.

  3. Thanks for the tip. I don’t know a lot about taking changing all the settings on the camera, but I definitely can try to take things without a flash!
    Hopping in from Bloggy Moms.

  4. great tips Aimee! We always LOVE your photos! thanks for sharing! Pinning!! 🙂

  5. kate says:

    Great advice! So sometimes I just need a flash because it is dark or night or because my son moves so quickly that he is a blur. Are there any decent flashes that you can attach to your camera or other solutions ?

    • Aimee says:

      I will be sharing some ideas for that soon, too! I totally hear you on the lighting issues. Part of my house is bright…but not every room! XO, Aimee

  6. Kristy @ Shona Skye Creations says:

    Found this on 504 Main’s Tickled Pink Fridays! Great post! I’m always looking for tips on improving my photography and I pinned this one for future reference! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Honey says:

    Thank you for sharing your photography tips at Potpourri Friday!

  8. Brenda says:

    Yeah!!! I’m so looking forward to reviewing all of your previous tips. Thanks for doing this!!!

  9. Susan says:

    I’m assuming the shot on the left was with the flash. I have a love/hate relationship with taking pictures – I want it to be easy but I never, ever get good shots unless I’m outside. And I want to continue to use my compact camera or iphone. I know, I’m sunk.

  10. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Diane says:

    Great lesson …. thanks for sharing!

  12. I am no expert here, but I don’t use flash indoor! Even if the light is not the best sometime, I can still touch it up later.

  13. Barb says:

    I would love to use natural light but I work all day and usually the only time I can take pictures is at night. And I can’t squeeze everything in on the weekend.

    I’d love to get the crystal-clear shots that other people feature but I’m not there yet.

    • Aimee says:

      Hey girl…no worries on night photography! I totally get that and will have some suggestions for you soon!!! XO, Aimee

  14. Foy says:

    Hi Aimee,

    My husband teaches a non-major Photography Techniques class at the University. One of his first lessons is “how to turn off your flash and take better pictures”. I have a table on the porch to so I can get photos with better light and I have been known to nudge my dining room table into the bay window to get a shot!

    We’d love to have you participate in our new Eat Make Grow blog hop:

    We are always looking for bloggers with great content!