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Shots of Indoor Lighting

edited June 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I was able to find forums advising me of how to take outdoor shots at night of my lighting, but now I want to take pictures of my indoor lighting; particularly recessed and pendant lights. My Dad is an electrician and I want some shots to add to his website. I'm not a photographer and I'm slowly learning (bought a book and all haha!), but I never expected to be taking these kinds of pictures. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Comments

  • edited June 2016
    Some of the guidelines will probably be the same indoors and out. You can experiment a bit, depending on how much ambient light there is, and how brightly you want the light fixtures themselves to stand out.

    You will run some risk of blowing out bright lights, especially if they are not flooding the area, and if you shoot them at night, so I would suggest you bracket your exposures. If you use Aperture priority, you can use exposure compensation. If you use manual, make sure you turn off Auto ISO or it will alter ISO and you won't see much, if any, difference between shots.

    This will depend a lot on what kind of lights you're shooting, and what effect they have on the space. You may find that the best effect will include blowing out the most central point of the lights themselves.

    If you shoot in Raw mode, and use an editor like Nikon's View NX2, you can custom adjust the white balance for the best color rendition. If you're shooting Raw, you can just leave it in Auto white balance, and fix it as needed later. If you shoot JPG, you'll have to experiment to find the best white balance when you shoot. There are many different settings available. In post processing a Raw file, you are not limited to the presets, and can adjust white balance more finely. If you find something you like, make sure you write down the color temperature so you can reproduce it on other shots. The editor's record keeping is not the best, and color temperature changes are not shown in the image's metadata when you open it later.

    If you post process with a program like View NX2 you can also open up dark shadows a little, and you can also adjust the exposure in post, by a couple of stops in either direction, which reduces the need to bracket exposures in the camera. The D3200 does not have a built in bracketing function as some other models do, so you have to do this manually for each shot.

    You almost certainly need a tripod for this. A low ISO will give you the least noise, especially in dark areas where it shows up more. And that, in turn, will mean slow shutter speeds. You will probably want a fair amount of depth of field, so you'll also need to keep your aperture down around f/8 or 11.

    Depending on the type of light, you may be able to get different effects from different angles. Try to avoid shooting directly at the bulbs if you can.

    But for experimenting with the light and the basic exposure, you can do it without a tripod, upping the ISO to a more convenient level. You can save some time experimenting if you settle for some blurry and noisy shots until you've settled on what you like. Then erase the bad ones and get the tripod out when you're ready to do it right.

    When doing interiors, it can be hard to keep the camera level, because you're likely to be aiming more at the ceiling. This can lead to pretty drastic perspective distortion, that will show up in slanted walls and doorways and the like. You can correct this to a great degree in post processing, but when you do, the image will be cropped - the more correction the more cropping. So if you cannot keep the camera level and must correct in post, make sure you have plenty of waste space at the edges. Shoot wider than you expect to need. The D3200 image can stand a great deal of cropping and sill be fine for web images, and a wider shot will also have better depth of field, so don't be shy.
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