• Setting Your Exposure Inside

  • Seeing the Contrast Indoors

  • Working with Window Light

  • Incandescent Light

  • Fluorescent Light

When you go inside, your eyes don't register the light change as immense. And while the change is not recorded as a large difference by the eyes, the camera sees everything differently. The biggest things to think about when photographing inside are the lower light level and the very different white balances. This chapter should help you better understand how to deal with light when shooting inside.


Even on a cloudy day, when you step indoors, the level of the light drops by more than 5 f-stops. So, on that same cloudy day when the exposure might be ISO 100 at 1/60 at f/8, indoors the exposure suddenly becomes ISO 400 at 1/15 at f/4. On a sunny day, the difference is even greater.

Why is there so much less light inside? Outdoors, the sun creates a huge amount of light, and even when the sun isn't directly hitting the subject, as on an overcast day, the sun lights the clouds, making the entire sky one giant, soft light. When inside, the roof and the walls block virtually all of the light. Even if you have four 3-foot by 5-foot windows, the light coming into the room is still limited. Exceptions obviously exist, such as skylights and when direct sunlight is streaming through a window.

Photographically, light ...

Get Lighting Photo Workshop now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.