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How to Get Good Lighting for Indoor Photos

by | Blog

Even if you don’t have good lighting for indoor photos, see how a small, handy camera attachment can give you a boost without resorting to flashes or bulky lighting equipment.

How to take bright photos indoors | One Dog Woof

So, winter is coming.  No, this isn’t the beginning of a particular series of books, it means that if you live in the northern hemisphere, days are getting shorter. You’ll be taking more and more indoor photos with less than optimal lighting.  And the closer you live to Santa Claus, the less light you’ll have.

Winter means drab days, long nights, and ugly photos that are either too dark, too blurry or have that stark deer in the headlights looks of “Hey, I used flash for this photo”.  But now there’s a great little tool to add to your camera bag that will help you take bright photos indoors.  The Professor Kobre’s Lightscoop is a small, easy to use camera attachment that bounces the light from your camera’s flash off the ceiling or walls, letting that light be captured as ambient light and not a blinding lightning strike in someone’s face.

Lightscoop compared to a matchbox car

I basically take 2 types of photos these days.  One is of inanimate objects  – these are my craft projects and food.  And the second is of fast moving kids. Both types of photos require lots of light to capture well.

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I experimented with the Lightscoop on random objects and my two kids, and I’m loving the results! Besides just making it easier for me to take better photos in my house at night, it’s encouraged me to shoot in Manual mode, which I’ve rarely done until now. I’ve always used AV mode, but the instructions gave specific settings in Manual, and after playing around a bit, I’m taking better indoor photos and feeling more comfortable with Manual mode in general. Win win!

Now for the proof – before and after pics!  These photos are unedited for lighting and exposure.  I’ve changed image sizes and added a watermark, but that’s it.

The three images here show 1) no flash. 2) direct flash and 3) flash with Lightscoop.  See the difference?  Love the difference?  The third image looks almost like daylike, doesn’t it?   There’s no glare and the background is illuminated as well.

ISO 800, 1/160 sec, f/2.5

Lightscoop improves indoor photography

Here’s another set I took, while writing this post.  Again, it’s “no flash”, “direct flash” and “flash with Lightscoop”.  The color of the mouse is also much more accurate in the third photo.  So, you can bet I’ll be using Lightscoop for taking evening indoor craft photos if I can’t shoot during the day!

ISO 800, 1/160 sec, f/3.5

Truer color using Lightscoop

Now, here’s J.  He doesn’t normally (EVER) pose for photos, but he wanted to play the other day, so I was able to get this shot.  Granted he wasn’t dodging the camera, but if I had to take this without Lightscoop, I’d have to jack up my ISO and use a tripod to get a clear shot, which is out of the question.  He’d be gone before I even set up the tripod!  With Lightscoop, the flash got bounced off the ceiling and generated much more light than was available in the room.  I love this photo!

ISO 800, 1/25 sec, f/2.5

using_Lightscoop_toddler

This is our Little Missus!  The shutter speed is a bit slow in this set of pictures, but that’s my normal MO when shooting at night, which is why she’s not completely blacked out in the “no flash” picture like in the craft photos above.  I did use flash for the second photo, but it didn’t bother her too much since she was awake and not looking at me.  The third photo is one taken with Lightscoop.  Again, the lighting is softer and more even, and the bounced flash didn’t make her flinch at all.

using_Lightscoop_baby-2

So if you don’t get a lot of natural light, especially in the winter, or it’s too cold to stage a photoshoot outside, using a Lightscoop is a quick and easy way to get a better shot than using a flash or filling your room with lightbulbs and reflectors! Remember, these days, photo quality is everything!

58 Comments

  1. Jin

    CW – this is neat! The results speak for themselves. I have an external flash that you can manipulate to bounce light off the ceiling – but it takes forever to “warm up” and it’s another piece of equipment to carry. This would be much simpler! I have a DSLR and would love the Deluxe.

  2. terry

    Oooh, great giveaway. I have a Nikon D3100 and I believe I would love, love, love the Deluxe version. 🙂

  3. Laura

    I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3. I would love to win the deluxe version. I keep seeing these and I take a lot of my blog pictures at night after the kids are in bed and this would be so great!

  4. Heather

    Wow – this looks amazing! Just what I need!

  5. SewCalGal

    Great review. I’m super excited to learn about this product. I take a lot of pictures, many of them in bad lighting conditions where I need to use a flash. As I have a small digital pocket camera, they are notorious for not taking great photos under such conditions. Would love to win a Junior. Just wish I had one now as I’m about to head out to Quilt Market and I’m sure a Junior would help me take better pictures at this trade show.

    SewCalGal
    http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

  6. Lindsay @Artsy-Fartsy Mama

    I have a Nikon D3200 and the Deluxe would be fantastic!! Thanks for sharing such an awesome product!

  7. Melissa Graham

    I have a little nikon and would use the Jr.

  8. Sky

    Oooh, I would honestly really love this! I feel like I always have to jack up my ISO- boo! I’d probably like the Deluxe version since the swivel option might be really handy. I LOVE the photo of your son, ChiWei- what a great shot! I know how it goes having to grab a photo on the fly with kiddos for sure 🙂

  9. Amie

    Awesome results! I too rarely use manual settings…lots to learn. I have a Cannon Rebel XSI.

  10. Colleen

    Now THAT looks like a handy gadget to have. I’m still very much a beginner photographer, but the day job makes it difficult to get out there and shoot during the week, so it’s slow learning. So here’s hoping I’m the winner – Nikon 3200!

  11. Josh

    I have a Nikon D50 and have been using an external SB-400 for indoor bounce flash. Unfortunately, that’s limited to bouncing only up in landscape orientation, or only sideways in portrait orientation. The Lightscoop Deluxe is an elegant solution to this dilemma!

  12. Jen S.

    Hubby just bought one and I believe it’s the Nikon D3100. We’re just learning and the dark photos are definitely a roadblock I’m running into. The Deluxe version would be awesome to get my hands on! Thanks for the contest!

  13. Michelle Welch

    I have a Lumix G1

  14. Angie Brewer (Snack Cups and Smiles)

    This would be awesome to have, it’s so dark in my kitchen. I have a Canon Rebel T1i and I would love to have the Lightscoop Deluxe!

  15. Sharon in Chicago

    I had heard about this at Haven, but hadn’t seen tangible results until this post — thanks for your review with pics. The Lightscoop Deluxe would be a great add-on for my Canon T3i DSLR.

  16. Melanie

    OH I could really get some use out if this! I have a Canon 7d & would love to own the deluxe Lightscoop!

  17. Marlene

    I have a Nikon DSLR and the Lightscoop Deluxe is my choice. Thank you for a great giveaway!!!!

  18. Kathy

    I have a Cannon Rebel XSi and the Lightscoop Deluxe is the one I want!

  19. Shannon

    What a difference it makes!! I’d love to have one 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win.

  20. Shannon

    I have a Nikon D5100 (I think…)

  21. Shannah @ Just Us Four

    This is such a fantastic product. I have a Nikon D5000.

  22. Melanie

    Nikon- Lightscoop deluxe!

  23. ChiWei

    Haha, I hear ya. I have to look at my camera every time someone asks me what I use. 🙂

  24. ChiWei

    I so want to go to Haven someday! The results are startling, aren’t they? You really have to see it to believe it!

  25. ChiWei

    My kitchen is also super dark – faces North, and hidden under a huge pine tree. I even bought work lights to help take in-progress pictures, but it just didn’t work out, so I’m really excited to try the Lightscoop next time I’m testing a recipe!

  26. ChiWei

    It really is! The whole swivel thing is great, so you can bounce any which way no matter what orientation you use!

  27. ChiWei

    That was totally my problem too! In the winter, I’d head to work in daylight, but come home in the dark. And since I wasn’t going to take photos in the mad morning rush, I really didn’t get any daylight at home to play with. So everything had to be done on weekends, and if it was raining on the weekend, then I was just out of options! Thanks for entering!

  28. ChiWei

    The swivel option is GREAT! And it’s such a relief to not have to use the highest ISO every time I take a picture! Then I don’t get the super grainy pictures and then have to try to edit it out. Good luck!

  29. ChiWei

    Thanks! I haven’t had a pocket camera in so long. I didn’t even realize they’d break down, so I was shocked when my old Powershot started getting all wonky. So now, we just lug our DSLR around – definitely not as discrete when taking pictures at festivals! Good luck!

  30. ChiWei

    Always a pleasure Lindsay! Good luck!

  31. ChiWei

    Thanks Jin! Your comment made me realize I hadn’t posted a picture of the product itself! It really is small. I’m actually concerned that I’ll leave it out and accidentally step on it or something and break the mirror. Stinks that the external flash needs to warm up. Busy kids won’t wait for you to warm up all that equipment! 🙂

  32. Leanne Wicks

    Thanks for posting! I have an SLR camera, so I’d love to try either the original or deluxe.

  33. ChiWei

    Thanks for entering Melanie! Good luck!

  34. Monica

    The deluxe model seems like a nifty tool for those of us living in the northern latitudes. I don’t currently have a DSLR, but am dreaming and wishing for one. Maybe Santa will be generous this year. 🙂

  35. Kimberly Sneed

    I have a Nikon and would love a Lightscoop deluxe!

  36. Sarah

    I just got my first dslr it’s my sisters hand me down. It’s a beautiful cannon rebel.
    I’d love the deluxe. I love the sample photos you did. Amazing the difference it made!

  37. Jamie

    I have a Nikon and would love the Deluxe!

  38. Jessica Hill

    I have a Nikon and the deluxe would be awesome!

  39. Christie - Food Done Light

    Wow! Light is my major problem! I love the effects of this. I have a Cannon. The deluxe would be awesome.

  40. Melissa D

    I would LOVE to win this!! What a difference it would make in all my photos!

  41. Lori

    I would love, love, love to win. I take so many pictures, this will surely help. If I won, I would take the Jr.

    Thanks

  42. Leann E.

    I have a Canon EOS 7D. Would love to win! The deluxe would be wonderful! Thanks for the review.

  43. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    ChiWei! I’ve had my eye on Lightscoops ever since you and the #myfavoritebloggers gals have been talking them up. Your photo comparison shots make it very clear that this is IDEAL for night-time and low lighting scenarios (which happens a lot to this night owl). My SONY DSLR and I would L-o-v-e to try out the deluxe! Thanks for the great giveaway.

  44. Kadie

    Oh I love the lightscoops! Your shots are great at showing how great they work indoors! 🙂

  45. kristi@ishouldbemoppingthefloor

    Oh how fun! I have a Nikon DS3000. Would love the deluxe one. Would make photos so much easier than having to drag everything outside and only shoot in the daytime!

  46. Starla Bates

    How cool! I have a Sony Cybershot right now but have been looking into investing for a wonderful camera 🙂 So, I would love the deluxe!

  47. Anne N

    I have a canon rebel xti and would love the deluxe. Amazing how much this improves the lighting.

  48. Wendy N

    I have a Nikon d60 and would love to get the Deluxe! Thanks fir the great giveaway!

  49. Jennifer Pierce

    I have a Nikon D3000 and I would pick the lightscoop deluxe for sure

  50. JJ Pop

    Wow!!! This is awesome. I hate doing indoor photos because with the flash my background is always dark or black and my subjects come out blurry with no flash. I hope I win, but if I don’t I’m buying one for sure!!

  51. Stacie

    This would be revolutionary for me! All of my indoor pictures are awful this time of year!!! Glad to see there’s a solution to this problem without buying the legit photographer set up of lights and mirrors!

  52. ChiWei

    I know right? I don’t have the money or the room for a full setup and who wants all that overhead when you just want a picture of your kids in flight? Thanks for stopping by Stacie!

  53. ChiWei

    Plus the redeye too – I take pictures with flash and all my subjects look like demons! I think this is totally worth the money, but hey, cross your fingers – you might win!

  54. ChiWei

    Thanks Kristi! There is seriously just not enough daylight in the wintertime. And then there’s rain and snow, so shooting outdoors is no-go for sure!

  55. ChiWei

    We should be our own advertising firm! Good luck!

  56. Mary Thorsby

    Wonderful post, ChiWei! Thank you so much for helping us spread the word about Lightscoop! Love your before and after pictures. Isn’t it great? We have lots more info on our website, and we respond quickly to email (m[email protected]) is anyone has questions. Thank you again — happy to partner with you anytime! Mary Thorsby, Lightscoop CEO

  57. ChiWei

    Mary, You’re so welcome! I love my Lightscoop so much! I take all my nighttime indoor photos with it now, and I really see such a difference, and I’m glad I didn’t have to shell out for an external flash 🙂 Thanks so much for the opportunity to try out a Lightscoop, it’s been great, and I hope to work with you again!

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