5 Things to Consider Before Your Indoor Family Photo Shoot

So you want to take family photos at home? It's a lovely idea and here at the Happy Film Company we can pull tricks out of magic bags to make almost anything work BUT you should know that since every house is different in design and location and every shoot takes place on a different day, indoor at-home photo shoots can be unpredictable and despite taking every precaution they can sometimes result in lower quality images. Things to keep in mind:

1) Photography is 100% about LIGHT and at tHFC we LOVE natural light.
(We don't use flash). We want as much natural light coming in through the windows from outside as possible. A house with big windows that let in lots of bright light is ideal. If you have a home with small windows or if your windows are blocked by trees, fences, neighbor's houses etc... your house is probably much darker and therefore your photos will turn out darker, sometimes more grainy/"noisy" and sometimes more orange. *This blog post features a photo shoot of a family baking biscuits in their bright natural light kitchen. This is a great example of ideal living for an indoor family photo shoot. Scroll down to see!

2) Orange is NOT the New White
If your house has enough window light (we call this outdoor natural light, 'white light') we will turn off all indoor lights and use the natural lighting. It might feel a little strange to be inside with the lights off but trust us, it looks better in the photos. If your house is too dark (and sometimes it is, even with all the windows wide open), we might leave on some indoor lights. Unfortunately, your lamps, overhead lights emit 'yellow' light and as you've probably seen in one too many iPhone pictures - you look like orange umpa lumpas. {Example: Lieb Family Cookie Baking in the Kitchen with the Lights On} If this is the situation we're working with, keeping reading...

3) Editing Orange & Grainy Photos
If the lighting in your home is NOT ideal and we do end up with darker, grainier or orange-tinted images, we will use special editing tools that go a long way in brightening, smoothing and making colors look more natural. The photos will still have a moodier more dramatic look than our usual bright photos. {Example: Tullman Family Indoor Christmas Photos} Remember, that it's all about 'getting it in the camera' and there is only so much that we can do AFTER the shoot. We do everything in our power to optimize the situation in person DURING the shoot. How can you prepare your dark house for a shoot? Keep reading...

4) Working with Dark Light in Your Home
To help us take the best pictures possible (especially if your house is darker), move furniture & clutter around windows so we have space to get as close as possible to the available natural light. Walk around your house to find the brightest room AND a room with white or neutral colored wall is soo helpful. If your walls are painted a strong color (especially red) this color will reflect onto your skin! Prepare to take photos outside on your porch, garden or around the neighborhood as a backup plan or to ensure we get at least a few photos in good lighting. Gather some white sheets, pillow cases or white poster boards from your craft supplies - we can use these bright white things to reflect light onto kids/babies faces. This is a DIY trick we LOVE.

5) Time of Day Matters!
What time of day is the sunshine brightest through your windows? Does your house get really dark in the winter afternoons? Please choose a time for your photo shoot when your home is brightest - for most houses around Seattle, we recommend doing indoor photo shoots mid-morning. The morning light is bright and usually coming in at an angle. If we wait until afternoon, the sun is usually above the house in the sky and the light is shining down on the roof (not in the window). 

Still got questions? Just ask: hello@thehappyfilmcompany.com
Photographer: Chamonix
Adventure: Baking Biscuits
Location: Private Residence