How to Find Creative Light Inside your Home

Nov 03, 2020
How to take better photographs

The chilly days of late fall are here. Quite frankly, though, it's feeling a lot like winter. We've lost an hour of daylight and the dark days associated with the winter months are here. I rarely lack inspiration during the summer when light is plentiful, and I’m usually immersed outdoors in nature. However, the move indoors can sometimes leave me feeling uninspired with shorter days and colder weather. To keep from falling into a rut, I make an effort to look for opportunities to capture creative light inside my home. Today, I want to share some tips about places to look for creative light inside your home so that you can remain inspired to pick up your camera even in the darkest and coldest of days. 

1. Window coverings

Slat blinds and lacy drapery can provide beautiful patterned light when it filters from the outdoors inside your home. Lines and repetition of shape as light is diffused through window coverings can infuse creativity into your images. I challenge you to look for and think about how you can use patterned effects from your window coverings in a creative way within your everyday moments. I think the creativity found through window coverings in your home will leave you feeling inspired to seek out that winter light. 

ISO 200, 35mm, f2.5, 1/200SS

2. Shadowed light

There are certain times of the day when light and shadows fall into my home from various windows, creating unique and interesting light effects. Take notice of the light and shadows in your home. Think about how you can creatively use this light. One of my favourite ways to use window light and shadow is to frame my subject. Unique light and shadow infuses beautiful creativity into an image resulting in a more interesting everyday moment. 

ISO 400, 35mm, f2.8, 1/800SS

3. Showcase the outdoors through windows

When you can't venture outside, don't be afraid to bring the outdoors indoors. This can be easily accomplished through windows. Raindrops on window panes, snowflakes on ledges, frosty tree detail, a beautiful sunrise or sunset or even a sunburst can all be captured through windows. Be sure to experiment with this type of light, and don't be afraid to underexpose your subject to keep those outdoor details from blowing out and losing detail in camera. 

ISO 400, 35mm, f2.8, 1/320SS

4. Shoot through 

The most basic light can be turned magical simply by shooting through another object. The best objects to shoot through allow you to draw attention to your subject. I like using crystals or glass. You can shoot through other items like copper or clear tubing, a prism, fabric, lace, and other decorative elements. Anything goes! If you cannot shoot through an item, try placing objects at different angles along the sides of your lens and moving them closer and farther away for your desired effect. The result is often pretty bokeh, reflections, rainbows and unique light patterns splayed throughout your image. There's a ton of creativity within the shoot through effect. 

ISO 400, 35, f2, 1/800SS

5. Artificial Light

Many natural light photographers often avoid artificial light, but it shouldn't be this way. Artificial light is not much different than natural light. In fact, it's more moldable and typically easier to manipulate, especially when the light source is moveable. Use artificial light in the same way you use natural light. Remember that you may need to change your white balance setting to accommodate artificial light's often warm colour temperature. Also, keep in mind that artificial light can be low light, so don't be afraid to bump up your ISO to balance your exposure triangle for a well-exposed image.  

Artificial light sources can include lamps, iPads, computer light, televisions, ovens and even fridge light, candles, sparkles and flashlights. 

The possibilities for artificial light are endless, and I encourage you to challenge yourself to experiment with this type of light this coming winter. If you do so, you're bound to learn a lot about light. 

ISO 2500, 35mm, f2.8, 1/200SS

Don’t fall into a rut this winter. Keep the inspiration that is inherent in summer going and look for ways to use indoor light creatively.