Camera Settings for Indoor Photography: Easy Tips to Try

Indoor photography presents unique obstacles for photographers, particularly those new to the genre. Chief among these tribulations is the conspicuous absence of natural light, making it hard to capture sharp and well-exposed images. Nevertheless, with strategic camera settings, this challenge can be overcome.

ISO should be kept low to minimize noise and grain, while a wide aperture allows more light in, as well as a shallower depth of field. Additionally, adjusting the white balance is vital to ensure the colors in your images appear true-to-life.

Indoor cathedral photo

Different types of light sources such as natural light, incandescent bulbs, and fluorescent lights, possess different temperatures and will consequently produce distinct color tones.

By vigilantly managing key camera settings, you can create stunning indoor photographs that ignite the imagination. Make sure to take the right steps and leverage the tools at your disposal so you can harness your photography potential and make your mark on the world!

Depending on your type of indoor photography, you can use the following settings:

Type of Indoor PhotographyApertureShutter SpeedISO
Dance performance or eventWide open (low f-stop number)Fast (1/200 or higher)High (1600 or higher)
Family portraitsMedium (f/5.6 – f/8)Moderate (1/100 – 1/200)Medium (800 – 1600)
Still life or product photography (using a tripod)Narrow (f/11 or higher)Slow (1/10 – 1/30)Low (100 – 400)
Table: Different types of Indoor photography and their camera settings

Understanding Camera Settings for Indoor Photography

When it comes to indoor photography, mastering camera settings is essential for producing stunning visuals. To get the perfect exposure you need to understand the three fundamental components of the exposure triangle—shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

From amateur snappers to seasoned pros, understanding and controlling these components will elevate your photo-taking capabilities to the next level.

Shutter Speed

Capture the perfect moment with shutter speed! When using a camera, this measurement determines the amount of time the shutter is open and allows light to create its magic.

Faster shutter speeds offer pristine clarity when trying to freeze movement, while slower shutter speeds bring greater brightness to low-light scenarios.

As a general rule, experts recommend that an indoor shutter speed should never drop below 1/60th of a second as this can cause motion blur in photos. Master the art of capturing precious memories with just the right shutter speed!


Aperture refers to the size of the lens’s opening, which controls the amount of light that enters the camera. A wider aperture (lower f-number) allows more light to enter, making it ideal for low-light situations.

However, a wider aperture also results in a shallower depth of field, which can be used creatively to isolate the subject. For indoor photography, an aperture of f/4 or lower for portraits and f/11 for wide shots is recommended.


The effectiveness of a camera in achieving the perfect shot is dependent upon its sensitivity to light, which is indicated by its ISO rating.

For best results in a dimly-lit environment, aim to set your ISO at 800 or lower—this ensures that photographs remain crisp and clear, free from any distracting graininess. By controlling the ISO, you can unlock unparalleled clarity and picture quality.

Exposure Triangle

The exposure triangle is the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Adjusting one setting affects the other two, and finding the right balance is key to achieving a well-exposed image.

Shooting in manual mode allows for full control over the exposure triangle, while shutter priority mode is ideal for capturing motion and aperture priority mode is best for controlling depth of field.

Other factors to consider when shooting indoors include color temperature, lenses, and post-processing. Using a white balance setting appropriate for the lighting conditions can prevent color casts, while using a wide aperture can help blur distracting backgrounds. Additionally, shooting in RAW format allows for more flexibility in post-processing.

In summary, understanding camera settings is crucial to capturing high-quality images when shooting indoors. By considering shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and the exposure triangle, photographers can achieve well-exposed images with minimal noise and motion blur.

Lighting for Indoor Photography

When it comes to indoor photography, proper lighting is paramount. It can take a simple shot and transform it into something truly extraordinary.

With a variety of lighting techniques available from natural daylight to artificial illumination; window-filtered light to soft diffusion; and the clever use of reflectors the creative possibilities are virtually endless.

The right lights combined with a bit of imagination can set your images apart from the rest.

Natural Light

Natural light is one of the best lighting sources for indoor photography. It is free, readily available, and can create beautiful, soft lighting. When shooting with natural light, it is important to consider the direction and quality of the light.

North-facing windows tend to provide the softest light while south-facing windows provide harsher, brighter light. Shooting during the golden hour, which is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, can also provide beautiful natural light.

Artificial Light

Artificial light is any light source that is not natural, such as lamps, overhead lights, or studio lighting. When using artificial light, it is important to consider the color temperature of the light source.

Different light sources can have different color temperatures, which can affect the overall look of the photograph. It is also important to consider the direction and intensity of the light source.

Window Light

Window light is a type of natural light that can provide beautiful lighting for indoor photography. When shooting with window light, it is important to consider the direction and quality of the light.

Shooting with the window behind the subject can create a beautiful backlight effect, while shooting with the window in front of the subject can provide soft, even lighting.

Diffused Light

Diffused light is a type of light that is scattered or softened to create a more even, natural-looking light source. This can be achieved by using diffusers, such as umbrellas or softboxes, or by shooting through the sheer material, such as a curtain or sheet. Diffused light can create a soft, flattering look that is perfect for portrait photography.


Reflectors are a tool used to bounce light back onto the subject, creating a more even, flattering light source. Reflectors can be made from a variety of materials, including white foam board, silver or gold reflectors, or even a plain white sheet.

Reflectors can be used to fill in shadows or to create a brighter, more even lighting source.

Using tools such as diffusers and reflectors can help create a more even, flattering light source. By understanding the different types of lighting sources and how to use them, photographers can create stunning indoor photographs.

White Balance for Indoor Photography

White balance is a crucial setting to consider when shooting photos indoors. It determines the color temperature of the image and can drastically affect the overall mood and tone of the photo.

White balance settings

When shooting indoors, there are several options for white balance settings. Here are some of the most common settings and when to use them:

  • Tungsten/Incandescent: Use this setting when shooting under warm, yellowish lighting, such as incandescent bulbs. This will help balance out the warm tones and produce a more natural-looking image.
  • Fluorescent: Use this setting when shooting under cool, bluish lighting, such as fluorescent bulbs. This will help balance out the cool tones and produce a more natural-looking image.
  • Shade: Use this setting when shooting in areas with heavy shade or indirect sunlight. This will help balance out the cool tones and produce a more natural-looking image.
  • Custom: If none of the preset white balance settings work for your specific lighting situation, you can create a custom white balance. To do this, take a photo of a white or neutral gray object in the same lighting conditions as your subject. Then, set that photo as the custom white balance reference in your camera settings.

It’s important to note that different light sources can have different color temperatures, which can affect the white balance of your photos. For example, incandescent bulbs tend to have a warmer color temperature, while fluorescent bulbs tend to have a cooler color temperature.

In addition to using the correct white balance setting, shooting in RAW format can also help you adjust the white balance during post-processing. This gives you more flexibility to fine-tune the color temperature and produce the desired look for your photos.

Overall, understanding and utilizing the white balance setting is crucial for producing high-quality indoor photos. By selecting the appropriate setting or creating a custom white balance, you can ensure that your images have accurate colors and a natural-looking tone.

Reducing Noise in Indoor Photography

Capturing images indoors can be challenging due to low light levels, which can result in noise and unwanted blur. Noise refers to the grainy or speckled appearance in an image that occurs when the camera sensor amplifies the signal to compensate for the low light. This section will provide some tips on how to reduce noise in indoor photography.

Adjust ISO Settings

One way to reduce noise is to adjust the camera’s ISO settings. ISO refers to the camera’s sensitivity to light. When shooting in low light conditions, it may be necessary to increase the ISO to capture enough light. However, higher ISO settings can result in more noise. Therefore, it is recommended to keep the ISO as low as possible while still capturing enough light.

Use Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is another useful tool for reducing noise in indoor photography. Image stabilization helps to reduce camera shake, which can result in blurry images.

When shooting in low light conditions, it may be necessary to use a slower shutter speed to capture enough light. However, slower shutter speeds can result in more camera shake.

Using image stabilization can help to reduce camera shake, resulting in sharper images and less noise.

Post-Processing Noise Reduction

Post-processing noise reduction is another option for reducing noise in indoor photography. Many photo editing software programs have noise reduction tools that can be used to reduce noise in an image.

These tools work by analyzing the image and removing the noise while preserving the detail and sharpness of the image. However, it is important to use these tools sparingly, as overuse can result in a loss of detail and sharpness in the image.

Tips for Indoor Photography

Indoor photography can be challenging due to the limited amount of available light and the need to adjust camera settings to compensate for it. Here are some tips to help you take better indoor photos:


When taking portraits indoors, it’s important to consider the lighting and background. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use natural light if possible. Position your subject near a window or door to take advantage of the available light.
  • If natural light is not available or not sufficient, consider using a flash or other artificial lighting source.
  • Use a shallow depth of field to blur the background and draw attention to the subject. This can be achieved by using a wide aperture (low f-stop number).
  • Consider using a reflector to bounce light onto your subject’s face and reduce harsh shadows.

Moving Subjects

Capturing moving subjects indoors can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help you get the shot:

  • Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. This will prevent motion blur and ensure that your subject is in focus.
  • Consider using burst mode to capture multiple shots in quick succession. This will increase your chances of getting a good shot.
  • Use continuous autofocus to keep your subject in focus as they move.
  • Consider using a tripod or monopod to stabilize your camera and reduce camera shake.

Remember, the key to capturing great indoor photos is to experiment with different camera settings and lighting conditions. With practice, you’ll be able to master the art of indoor photography and capture stunning images.

Common Indoor Photography Mistakes

Indoor photography can be challenging, and there are some common mistakes that photographers make. Some of these include:

  • Not using enough light
  • Using the wrong white balance settings
  • Overexposing or underexposing your photos
  • Using the wrong focus mode
  • Not paying attention to the background


Indoor photography can be challenging, but with the right camera settings and techniques, you can take stunning photos. Remember to adjust your ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, and focus to get the best results.

Use a tripod if necessary, and don’t forget to edit your photos to make them look their best.

You may be interested in the Best camera settings for outdoor portraits article.