It’s not easy capturing indoor images. Fortunately, this isn’t an impossible task, and we will show you how. It all boils down to the right settings to boost sharpness, achieve the effects you desire, and reduce noise.
And if you have never tweaked your camera settings, worry not as today’s guide will walk you through the process. Let’s learn Canon camera settings for indoor photography!
Kickstart by Picking the Correct Light
The main reason why photographers find indoor photography challenging is due to restricted light. Almost all indoor spaces are dark and shadowy even if they do not appear so at first glance. Therefore, if you attempt to capture without cautiously choosing the camera settings, you will have noisy, dark, or blurry pictures. And in the worst conditions, the images can have a combo of all three.
But worry not as we will explain how to adjust the camera settings for gaining the best pictures. However, choosing the correct settings is much simpler if you initiate with the correct light. In simple words, prior to shooting, ask yourself which kinds of lights are present here?
In case any strong artificial light is present in your vicinity, it is recommended to shift your subject. And in case there is any charming sunlight entering from doors or windows, it is advised to shift the subject over and allow the light to fall on the frame.
Lastly, if you do not possess powerful light in the shooting space, consider bringing your own speedlights. Although working with an off-camera flash is tough, it only appears challenging but it isn’t. A few speedlights improve the light intensity significantly and present sufficient illumination.
Ideal Settings for Indoor Photography
In the following sections, we will share particular settings that ensure sharp images in a variety of indoor spaces.
Employ a Wide Aperture to Allow Maximum Light Inside
Even if you have a strong artificial light or sunlight in the shooting space, it can still be difficult to capture pictures which are both precise and illuminated. The reason is because indoor light is inherently weak as compared to outdoor light.
So it is critical to compensate by enabling maximum light to hit the camera sensor. This can be achieved by widening the lens aperture. If you do not know what an aperture is, it is basically a hole in the camera lens. The aperture enables more light as it gets wider. As a result, you are given brighter pictures. Aperture is measured in the f-stop number, such as f/8, f/2, f/5.5, and so on.
The smaller the f-stop, the wider the aperture and more light hits the camera sensor. During indoor photography, it is recommended to use the widest aperture your lens presents. Generally, this is around f/2.8-f/5.6.
However, some lenses enable you to widen the aperture more, as much as f/1.4 and beyond. In this way, the camera sensor absorbs maximum light. Plus, users are able to increase the shutter speed without compromising on the general brightness. More on this later.
However, remember that a wide aperture will influence the pictures in some way, and you might have a restricted depth of field. In simple words, rather than shooting a picture which is precise from the back, you will have an image with just a sliver of the scene in focus.
But thankfully, this effect is attractive. And it is usually an inevitable drawback of working in dim lighting. Therefore, it is advised to make peace with the shallow depth of field whenever possible.
Pick the Maximum ISO You Can Work With
The ISO is a method of increasing the brightness of pictures while leaving the aperture and shutter speed the same. But although a high ISO guarantees brightness, it also leads to plenty of unattractive noise.
It takes practice and expertise to pick the ideal ISO. The finest ISO enables you to employ a shallower aperture and a quicker shutter speed as needed. Not only this, it compensates for the darkness of indoor spaces. And most importantly, the ideal ISO minimizes noise level. Although there is no right answer to this question, below is a practical guide to ensure optimum ISO settings for indoor photography:
First of all, test the camera at all ISO points. See the pictures on your PC and zoom to 100%. Recognize the maximum ISO value you can tolerate. Afterwards, apply that ISO whenever you have to tackle indoor photography. That being said, a high ISO is not always needed. If you are operating with a flash and you have abundant sunlight, photographers can snap an exposed picture with a sub-800 ISO and a quick shutter speed.
But in case there is dim lighting, photographers should stretch out the ISO based on their comfort level, and then pause. After this stage, you should not consider going higher. Instead, it is better to adjust the shutter speed and consequently have a blurry picture than to employ an unsafe ISO point.
Choose a Slower Shutter Speed
As previously mentioned, shooting alluring indoor images includes allowing maximum light. A simple method to achieve this is by picking a wide aperture. However, photographers have another workaround – elongate the shutter speed. This is particularly useful when you dislike the shallow focus effect or the camera lens does not present a wide highest aperture.
The shutter speed of 1 s exposes the camera sensor to illumination for much longer than the shutter speed of 1/1000s. In other words, the 1 a shutter speed will offer a much clearer image as compared to the 1/1000s speed. Matter of fact, when professionals work in extremely dim lighting at nighttime hours, they usually employ shutter speed of minutes or sometimes hours to gain a bright picture.
One method to handle the requirement for more illumination is to simply choose the longest shutter speed permitted by your camera model, and afterwards choose all the other settings. But this tactic includes a prominent consequence.
The slower a shutter speed is, the bigger the possibility that your camera will shake while the camera sensor is still exposing the picture. This will result in an unattractive, blurry, and disoriented picture.
Therefore, you have to make an informed compromise. Rather than choosing the slowest shutter speed permitted by the camera, you can choose a comparatively slow shutter speed, but the one which still keeps sharp pictures. As stated in the last tip, it is also useful to pick a wide aperture. A wide aperture means a quick shutter speed.
So what should be the ideal shutter speed for indoor photography? It is generally closer to 1/80s or 1/60s. However, it is different in varying circumstances based on how quickly the subject is in motion, how stable your hands are, and how long the lens is.
Keep in mind that a simple way to search for the starting shutter speed is to utilize the reciprocal rule. This rule directs the photographer to take the reciprocal of the camera lens focal length. Suppose that the camera lens is 60mm. It means you can safely shoot down to 1/60s. Similarly, in case the camera lens is 300mm, you can safely shoot down to 1/300s.
But keep in mind that this is not a strict rule. However, it can guide you, and serves as a brilliant starting point. From here, photographers can experiment with somewhat lower or higher shutter speeds until they find the setting which serves them the best.
Remember that you should also consider keeping the camera stable by steadying your body against the wall. Other stabilization tips include image stabilization and using a tripod. This is how you can achieve an exposed picture, which is simultaneously sharp.
Utilize Manual Focus
If you are a fan of flawlessly sharp images, this setting is a foolproof practice. Yes, we have saved the best setting at the last – manual focus mode.
Currently, almost all lenses and cameras present decent autofocus performance. Just direct the camera, press the shutter button, and the focus will be fixed on the subject to gain a precise picture. But as the light starts to get dimmer, the autofocus performance gets inferior. Cameras find it challenging to ace focus. This can lead to mindless searching for the focus point. In some cases, photographers lose focus entirely too.
But this is where manual focus comes to the rescue. It engages minimal electronics. Simply turn the ring on the camera lens and watch the focus shift. Although manual focus demands a learning curve, just some effort will make it easier. And after learning the mode, photographers always achieve ideally focused pictures in indoor settings.
Snapping stunning indoor images can be challenging, but it really isn’t. And after reading this guide, you’re aware of all the tips and tricks to capture memorable pictures indoors. Therefore, implement the advice shared in this read to enjoy beautiful indoor pictures.
Robert is an avid photographer and camera enthusiast with a passion for capturing the perfect shot. With years of experience testing and reviewing a wide range of camera equipment, Robert has become an expert in identifying the features and functions that are essential for capturing high-quality photos and videos.
As the founder and editor of Life in Cameras, Robert is dedicated to providing readers with honest and comprehensive reviews of the latest cameras, lenses, and accessories on the market. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, Roberts’s in-depth analysis and unbiased opinions can help you make informed decisions about your next camera purchase.