Many of us find ourselves stuck inside this time of year.

However, this doesn’t mean we have to fall into a creative slump.

In fact, being stuck inside can be an excellent opportunity to get our creative juices flowing like they never have before. Some of my favorite images I’ve taken have been the result of gloomy weather forcing me inside. Here are some helpful tips I’ve learned along the way.

1. Let light in

This is almost a given, but important to note nonetheless. Pull up the shades, open the blinds, and let in as much natural light as possible. Place your subject close to a window and make sure the light is falling across their face adequately. Look to make sure they have catchlights.

If placing your subject by a window isn’t an option, open your front door and place your subject in the light that streams inside. But watch out for direct, harsh light! (Unless, of course, a more dramatic image falls in your line of vision.)

girl sitting in a bay window by Kris and Lauren Penland

2. White balance

Color temperature is so, so important to manage when you are shooting indoors. Turning off lamps and overhead lights makes proper white balance a lot easier to achieve as fluorescent and tungsten bulbs can cause unflattering color casts on your subject.

While it is possible to correct white balance post processing, it is always ideal to get proper white balance in camera. Setting your camera to custom white balance and using a gray card or a white wall usually does the trick.

kids playing under the kitchen table by Kris and Lauren Penland

3. Expose properly

Don’t underexpose your image for fear of bumping your ISO “too high”. When your image is too dark in camera and you bring up the exposure in post processing, you are actually introducing more grain and defeating your original purpose!

Cameras on the market today have amazing sensors that can handle ISO better than ever before, so don’t be afraid of a high ISO when shooting indoors. Make sure your image is properly exposed and if that means a slower shutter speed (within reason) or a higher ISO, embrace it!

black and white photo of kids playing by Kris and Lauren Penland

4. Get in the bathroom

Yep, believe it or not, bathrooms are a great spot in your home for photographs. Bathrooms usually have a lot of white and white reflects light really well, making exposure much easier. There are also mirrors in bathrooms, which also reflect light and can be fun to get creative with.

photo of kids in the bathroom by Kris and Lauren Penland

5. Unique light sources

Utilize light sources you never would have considered before. Look around your home for any and all light sources and consider their possibilities. Computer and iPad lights, refrigerator lights, oven lights, night lights, and candles are a few examples. But, there are possibilities everywhere.  Again, though, watch your white balance when dealing with artificial light.

What’s fun about this is that it doesn’t have to be during the day…. it can be during bedtime stories or while dinner is in the oven.

You can include your light source in the image or not. If the source of light is integral to the story, then make it an integral part of your image like I did here. My daughter was anxiously awaiting dinner in the oven here, so of course it made sense to include the oven in my frame.

child watching food cook in the oven by Kris and Lauren Penland

Here is another example of the same spot, same light source. This time I chose not to include the light source (my oven light) in my frame.

Related: 6 simple ways to light your subject around the house at night

So, don’t let these upcoming winter months bog down your creativity. Unleash yourself, experiment, take risks… now is the perfect time to try something new.

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