Wednesday, June 29, 2011


by elizabeth 

shooting indoors.. is something I majorly need help with... I have tried to stay on M but have had to flip to green square a few times over the last few weeks, and you know what?? it's almost always indoors.  I have a hard time figuring it out!

with that being said, I am so excited to learn more about today's lesson and have a rockin' guest photog to help us out!

you can find today's lesson content here, check it out.. a big thanks to two peas in a bucket too!

introducing emmalee...  tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I am a mother of little boy named Kristian (who just turned 2 and is a little terror at times). After growing up in Louisburg I moved to Lawrence with my husband of 6 years and at the same time I started my photography business, schaumburg photography  I fell in love with photography when I discovered my mom's 35mm in high school and couldn't stay out of the darkroom. I love antiquing and finding new props to work with. I have a slight problem with collecting old chairs, just ask my husband!

what inspired you to become a photographer, and how do you stay inspired?

The whole process of developing film and prints in the darkroom is what inspired me to become a photographer. "Migrant Mother" was also a big inspiration to me. I just loved the story that the photo told, which encouraged my love for photojournalism. Today, I mostly focus on newborn photography, but when I shoot weddings I am still able to capture their story through the use of photojournalism. Another photographer that inspired me was Ansel Adams, I loved his black and whites.

What keeps me inspired? Anything really. Whether it's a new location that I just happened to find, a fun textile print, colors from the 1950s or just walking around antique stores finding new props. I find inspiration in everyday life, it's all around you!

any advice to us newbie's who are just using a dslr camera for the first time?

When shooting indoors you typically don't have enough light, so there are several ways to overcome this.

1. Slow down your shutter speed (use 1/80 sec, 1/125 sec or so). This will allow more light to come in and expose the image, however it won't freeze the action as well as 1/250 sec would, for example. So, if you can get your kiddo to look at you long enough, then you can try for a slow shutter speed. 

2. Use a higher ISO. Unfortunately, this will give you grainy images, so you don't want to go higher than ISO 800, but if you really don't have much light to work with, then you will have to use a higher ISO. 

3. Another option is to purchase a lens with a large aperture i.e. f/1.8. I just purchased a canon 50mm (fixed lens) with an aperture of 1.8 for about $100. This allows for a ton of light to come into the lens, but it also creates shallow depth of field. {Depth of field is the amount of blurriness to the background of your image or foreground, depending on where your focus is.}

Great rule of thumb: The smaller the aperture (i.e. f/1.8) the larger the lens opening is, thus creating more depth of field (more blurriness), also there is more light that comes in. The larger the aperture (i.e. f/22) the smaller the lens opening is, thus creating less depth of field (less blurriness), also there is less light that comes in. Check out the image below to visually understand apertures.

When using a large aperture (f/1.8) you need to be careful when focusing; it can be really touchy since your depth of field is so shallow. When you think you’re focusing on the eyes you might be focusing on an ear, making the eyes slightly out of focus. It’s best to focus manually, just practice, practice, practice!

4. The best solution for shooting indoors is natural light! Find a window!  It’s best to shoot with diffused light, whether that's accomplished with a north facing window, sheer curtains or clouds. The winter time, when snow is on the ground, is the best time for indoor shooting. The snow acts as a natural reflector. Of course you could purchase a professional reflector if you’re serious about reflecting light, or you could make your own with a piece of white foam core. {Check out my shots below from indoor shooting with snow on the ground}

ISO 200, 50mm, f/2.0, 1/160 sec, custom white balance

ISO 200, 50mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, custom white balance

ISO 200, 50mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, custom white balance

ISO 200, 28mm, f/3.5, 1/125 sec, custom white balance

ISO 320, 28mm, f/3.5, 1/125 sec, custom white balance

Here a few good examples of backlit window lighting.

any tips for shooting indoors??
Well, I think I covered all my tips above, but another option is to use an external flash. I use a Speedlight 430EX. Just hook it up to your hot shoe on the top of your camera and point it to the ceiling so it reflects off the ceiling and gives you an even light. {this is what I did for the birthday picture below}  And it’s what I do at a lot of wedding receptions.

Hope this inspires you to shoot indoors! Happy shooting!

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