Here’s a simple photo tip that can make a big difference when you’re taking indoor photos without flash. Strive to use one type of light source when you can. In the photo on the left I had both the artificial overhead lights on, as well as light streaming in from the windows. Our apartment is already fairly dark ( ), and I didn’t get around to dressing in my outfit and taking these until later in the day than I would have hoped, so there really wasn’t enough natural light for me to leave the overhead lights off if I wanted That Husband to take the photos for me without seeing blur from shaking hands. I left the white balance on auto, leaving my camera confused. Should it be measuring for the daylight or the artificial light? As you can see it, did a rather poor job of choosing, and I’m not willing to take the time in Photoshop to try to fix the skin tones (usually I would just go with black and white in a situation like this if it was a photo I deemed worth keeping, but I want the whole series to be in color).
The photo on the right was taking at noon, with plenty of light streaming in through the windows. Much better right?
Of course this doesn’t apply if you are going to use flash, as your flash will overpower your other light sources and white balance won’t be an issue. And because every situation really is so different (I’m not trying to sell this as a universal rule, just hoping to suggest a solution for those who are frustrated regarding the color of their photos!), keep in mind that sometimes you can have both artificial light and natural light in one room, but one can overpower the other and you won’t have the awful color issues I’m having with photos like the one above on the left.
This shot from Kelli Nicole’s blog is a good example of how one light source can overpower the other. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that the artificial lights are on in the house, she just chose to take her pictures in a spot with plenty of sunlight streaming in so there are no funky skin tones to be had!
The moral of this post? Pay attention to your light sources, and try not to mix when you can manage it. If mixing is something you can’t control, I suggest finding a nice black and white conversion that you like and using that when you can. Much easier on the eyes than that blue and red mess you see me trying to get away with above!