Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Indoor Photography Tips

What is the usual challenge you will face with indoor digital photography?

Low light condition.
And it's even worse when you're not allowed to use flash. Remember those "No Flash" signs before entering Museums and some Churches?
Or those performances where it's not allowed to use flash because it will distract the performers?

The problem when it's dark, your photos come out blurry.

There are 3 reasons why this happens: 

1. Camera shake
When it's dark, the shutter stays open longer to admit more light. But when the shutter stays open longer, there's more chance for a camera shake to happen. Causing the blurry picture.
2. Main subject is moving
It's similar to camera shake, but this time, it's your subject who's actually moving instead of the camera itself.
3. Autofocus is unable to lock on to any object
When it's dark, your camera can't determine which object to focus on.
Here's what to do?

Remember these two main things when taking indoor digital photography:

1. Keep the camera steady.
Use a tripod if you brought one. If not, lean your camera or brace your elbows against a steady surface like the top of a chair, couch, table, etc. And don't move the camera while your photo is being recorded.
2. Switch to the manual mode if possible.
You stand a better chance of taking sharp pictures by switching to the manual mode, because you can control how the camera processes the scene. Like how much light is admitted, and how long the shutter stays open, etc.
Here are some features you might want to adjust manually when getting ready for indoor digital photography: 
Shutter speed and aperture
You'll need a slower shutter speed so the camera captures more of the scene. The bigger the number (fraction), the slower the shutter speed. For example, 1/60 sec. is slower than 1/1000 sec. 
Note: When using a point and shoot camera? If there's not enough natural light, switch to your cameras night mode. This automatically keeps the shutter open a little longer.
If you are in a controlled environment, create more light (open your blinds, curtains)  turn on some lights to illuminate your subject.
Another thing, shutter speed and aperture are connected. So when you select the shutter priority mode and choose a shutter speed, the camera automatically adjusts the lens opening to admit the right amount of light. And vice versa, with the aperture priority mode.
Also, the wider the aperture (lower f-stop), the more light reaches the sensor and the narrower your depth of field is. In aperture settings (measured in f stops), the smaller the number, and the wider the aperture (lens opening) is. For example, f1.8 is wider than f2.8.
To draw attention to your subject, you might want to set your camera with a large aperture for a shallower depth of field. This will blur the foreground and the background, while keeping your subject in sharp focus.

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