After years of photographing inside many many homes, I have learned that no two homes are alike to photograph in, and that there is one HUGE key to taking beautiful indoor photos…and it has NOTHING to do with what kind of camera you are using!
(phew, right?! Your cell phone can handle this if that’s the camera you have!)
The key? Drumroll please…
L I G H T !
Maybe this surprises you, but I’m going to guess you’ve heard it (probably from me!) before. The light you use when you are taking photos (honestly, both inside and out!) is the #1 determining factor, hands down, of what the photo is going to look like. You can have the most beautiful subject or background, but if the light is bad, it doesn’t matter! And beautiful light can disguise a whole lot when you need it to– good news, right? And the other bit of good news is that you don’t have to have TONS of windows to find good light in your home…you just need to know what to look for! So here we go…
1). IT’S ALL ABOUT LIGHT…BUT NOT ALL LIGHT IS CREATED EQUAL!
Friends, when you are taking photos inside your homes, NATURAL LIGHT is where it’s at! It is so easy to think that you just need to have ALL THE LIGHT, so you turn on that cute lamp and those overhead lights…and that is just NOT how light works. Try to take your photos during the daytime when the sun is still out (which I know might mean weekends some times of the year if you are at work during the short daylight hours!), and turn O-F-F all your inside lights! ALL of them! No exceptions!
(ok…the one exception is if it’s nighttime. It’s better to take a photo than not, even if you need lights!
But try to take your photos during daylight whenever you can!)
Using BOTH light from outside and lamps always creates light that is different COLORS, and often different types of light. I am sure you do not have time for me to dig super deep into that, but trust your girl…you want all one color and type of light– and you want it to be natural light, which means light from the sun/sky/outside. Natural light also creates beautiful, even skin tones, and also keeps the color looking more like what you see and less of a yellow-lightbulb-color.
2). OPEN ALL YOUR BLINDS AND CURTAINS FIRST THING These are fighting words to some people (perhaps my husband included!)…but my BEST advice is to wake up and let that light in! If your kids are in the middle of doing something adorable and you have to run across the room to open the shades, trust me mama, that moment is going to be GONE by the time you get back. Just open the shades and curtains all the way first thing– and your general mood might thank you too (mine definitely does with that pretty outside light pouring in!). That way you never have to think about it- it’s just done! And if you can’t open them everywhere, open them in the space with the BEST light and help convince your kids (or favorite photo subject!) to play there!
You can see how yellow and dark the overall look of this photo is because of the lamp on and curtains partially closed, even though it has the same settings as the photos above.
3). CONSIDER YOUR WINDOW TREATMENTS AND IF THERE IS A BETTER OPTION
If you love your curtains/shades, just move along– that’s fine! But if they are heavy, dark, old, or need replacing anyways– hear me out! I personally believe window treatments have grown a LOT in the last few years in a way that matches style with function! Now, we live in the country a bit…so we don’t have to have real intense blinds and curtains. But we put these shades (click HERE) in our new home in many of the rooms, and we love them. They are very pretty, and can be gotten in light filtering, more blackout, or more sheer– they have worked SO well for us. The ones in our main living space are just light filtering, which means that even when they are all the way closed, some light comes through. And these shades also give you flexibility to partially open and let some light through without being FULLY open…
So if Tip # 2 gave you a heart attach– consider these as a great option for a little more control than “fully open” shades! You can start with that one room with best light if you need!
Ok, there you go! Now you KNOW that natural light only is best, and that you need to get those window shades W I D E O P E N to find it– so I challenge you to go find that light! And for some final fun news, something I was never sure I would actually do…
I made a Youtube channel! And shared a video about this topic today! So please join me HERE to subscribe (I would love for it to be more than just Michael following along 🤣) and if you are more of a video learner, keep your eye out for a few short videos each month helping you to take better photos of whatever you love with whichever camera you have today!
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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!).
As a past high school teacher, I have a major heart for education. After going full time in my business, I have built a business I love that gives me an almost 6 figure salary and allows me to be home part time with my kids. I dream for you to run a business that enhances your life and lights you up, and I believe I can help you learn how to do it with a little hustle and a lot of heart!
click to learn more about me
You're in the right place! As a past high school teacher, educating others is my life's work and a HUGE part of my business! I have been teaching moms and hobbyists how to use their camera from first purchasing it all the way to coaching them into businesses of their own, and I'd love to help you as well, wherever you are (and whatever camera you have!).
I'm so glad you are here! Teaching Photographers and other small business owners how to run more joyful, successful, and profitable businesses is one of my favorite parts of my business! I specialize in working with photographers to make their goals a reality (or figure out what their goals should be in the first place!).