Indoor portrait photography

Photographing with natural light doesn’t mean you’re limited to working outside. In this portrait photography class Karl demonstrates a different type of natural light photography – natural light photography indoors.

One of the key things to consider when working inside is your location. Big windows are our friend whilst too much light can actually be an issue. It’s important to study the location, understand the potential benefits or problems that the room you’re working in provides.

This natural light photography example shows an indoor shoot that takes place in someones home and Karl explains a number of important factors to consider as well as how to make the most of and control available light.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Portrait photography using natural light
  • Natural light photography indoors
  • How to create soft light for portraits
  • Using reflectors & negative fill to control shadows
  • Useful accessories & equipment for indoor photography
  • How to soften harsh sunlight

Note: This course is available with English subtitles


  1. “… don’t take an image; make an image” that is a very realistic message.

    Thank you. I appreciate the fact that you showed a comparison (at 15:41 – 15:47) for the results of a Fill, No Fill, and Negative Fill image. I really hits home from a practical stand point.

  2. where did you get that long extension arm with your Manfrotto Standard Lighting Stand? Was this a modification?

    1. Hi Paulo, I think you talking about the lastolite reflector holder arm. If you could note down at what time in the video and I will confirm.

  3. Hi Karl
    I am doing a series of photographic studies of people in their workplaces. One of these people is a therapist and having seen the room she works in, it is quite dark. There is a window though, so some natural light. I have an SLR and a couple of reflectors but no studio lights., though there is a standard lamp on location. Any tips on stopping the picture look too dark? Thanks and thanks for all the great videos.

    1. Hi Tim, if you’ve got no lights then you need to get her near to the window and use a reflector on the shadow side if possible. Probably need a higher ISO, shoot RAW and then you can pull up other detail later. Don’t be afraid to rearrange a few things in the background to suit too.

  4. I am part of the working poor and not sure how to take family photos in my house when everything isn’t ideal.

  5. 21:20 I think the chair blocking the model’s forearm is distracting. What do you guys think?

    1. Hi Leo, I wouldn’t agree at all. The kitchen work-surface and the chair work together to form occlusion which increase the sense of three dimensionality in two dimensional photography. The image is not about the models arm it’s about her face and upper body, although of course it is always possible to improve every images, one must take an image in its overall context and emotional impact, some of the best images in the world are full of ‘technical’ faults but work perfectly on an emotional level.

    1. Hi Vincent, the sync speed with flash is 1/250th but there are no flash or studio lighting being used in this course. This is part of the course on natural light portraiture. For studio lighting portraiture see the course ‘Light Source’.

  6. This is wonderful video. I am happy because you mentioned the list of equipment used in the video.

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