Photo Tips

Photo Tips: Finding the BEST Light Indoors!

Me Ra Koh

Finding the BEST light indoors makes for magical, sweet photos.  Got cabin fever?  Get your camera out because there are great photos ops everywhere.

Whenever I go to a client’s house, I like to do a few things before we even start the shoot. One of these things is getting a casual tour of the home. I like to look at all the rooms, the overall layout of the house, and find the best available light. You never know where the best light is going to be. Sometimes it’s in the bathroom! And yes, if that is where the best light is, that’s where I’ll do a majority of the shoot.  It is all about finding the BEST light indoors!

For this baby photo shoot, finding the best light indoors meant the kitchen.

I’m not sure the parents pictured me doing their baby photo shoot in the kitchen. But they trusted me, and I LOVED the light in that part of the house. Since I did most of the images at a low f-stop–to get that buttery, blurry background–it didn’t matter that we were in the kitchen. Yep, the stove was black. And the fridge was big and bulky.  But in the end, I knew I was going to blur the stove anyways.  When I’m shooting at a low f-stop, a black blurred stove didn’t distract from the image at all. At some points it even adds more depth to the image!

Learn valuable photo tips on Finding the BEST Light Indoors with Me Ra Koh


  1. Michelle says:

    Who would have thought a kitchen would make such a great setting! And if you hadn’t of mentioned it was a kitchen, I would have never known!

    Thanks for the great tip. When I walk into a house, I always feel like I should do the session in their family room. Now I know I have options! =)

    I absolutely LOVE that last image. Nothing makes me giggle like a chubby baby. =)

  2. Dawn Beirnes says:

    I love your instructional posts! Were these shots in full manual or aperture priority? I know you really want people to shot in full manual. I’m learning along the way (taking a photography course) and have gotten pretty comfortable in AV right now, but am working towards FULL MANUAL! I’m longing for the day when I can determine the aperture as soon as I walk into a room, etc. Right now I just experiment until I feel like I’ve got it right. It does feel awkward when you’re taking someone picture and you feel like you’re making them wait until you get the camera set! But I go outside with my grandson and just click away! Most of the time he doesn’t even know I’m taking his picture.

  3. Amanda Key says:

    When shooting with low f-stop and having to use a low shutter speed–how do you insure that your images will be crisp? do you use a tripod? Thanks.

  4. Linnea says:

    I don’t know where else to post this comment…

    I just finished watching your “Beyond The Green Box” DVD. I can’t thank you enough for putting this video together. A few months ago I went to a Nikon class in Seattle. I feel as though I learned more from your DVD than from the class. You spoke to me and not above me. Thank you for that.

    I am at the point where people are beginning to ask me to take photos of their kids and families. I had hit my “glass ceiling” and now I feel more confident to take more chances.

    I wish I could fly to DC for the upcoming workshop. I also look forward to watching more of your DVD’s.

    So, again, THANK YOU!

  5. jeramy says:

    i’m sitting here at my desk and i’m in awe at how i never really appreciated the importance of family photographs for most of my life. but i see these images and i think, wow, these images will shape the memories of this time period for this family forever. and now, when people say, “oh yeah, i’m not that into pictures….they don’t mean much to me”, i think….you just don’t get it. i don’t know why this hit me today….

    as always, great job you two. you’re the best!

  6. Jennifer S says:

    Thank you Mera. You have just given me the confidence to select the best light – even if it is the bathroom. I never thought about the kitchen… No more dark family rooms or nurseries. Thank you.

  7. LOVE today’s post. I know exactly where the best light is in our house. In our master bedroom. All most all of our windows face east and so we get great morning light in our bedroom. And to be honest I never thought about taking pictures there…lol crazy git.
    But thanks for reminding me to look for perfect light, slow down and take some time before just shooting away. I need to channel Rick more often too.

  8. Nic says:

    Thank you! I’m doing my second baby shoot on Saturday, and you’re tip couldn’t have comee at a better time. After checking your blog during a tea break at work, (I was having the most horrible of mornings), I was able to find a moment to focus on what I really am passionate about and not let other ‘stuff’ get so much in the way. Thank you , for being such a gift to me, and others. Bless, Nic

  9. […] I love your feedback on yesterday’s post: Finding the BEST Light in Your Setting! I’m going to reconnect with the kiddos and then try to post some answers/thoughts to your […]

  10. Me Ra Koh says:

    I wanted to get back here and answer some of your questions! They are such great questions.

    Dawn, I shot the whole session in Manuel, but you could achieve the same buttery background in Aperture Priority Mode (the little A icon). You would just need to roll you aperture as low as you could. Most of these images were shot below a 2.8.

    Hi Amanda, When you open your Aperture that wide, it allows you to have much more light come in. This usually creates a faster Shutter Speed. I was using the fixed 85mm lens. You’ll hear photographers refer to the fixed lenses as “fast” lenses. It’s because they can open up in aperture so much more than a zoom, so it speeds up the Shutter Speed. And that’s how you can still get those crisp, sharp shots.

    Linnea, thanks for your great feedback on our DVDs! I would suggest getting our Portrait 101 Kit. We’ve had hundreds of people tell us it gave them ALL they needed to get a Portrait Business up and going, from pricing to marketing to contracts and legal photo release waivers, to every thing in between! I hope we get to meet at a workshop someday! So excited for you!

    And to everyone reading, give yourself FREEDOM to choose whatever room has the BEST light! Freedom to do the shoot in the bathroom, the kitchen, the messy master bedroom. You know you need good light to get the images you want. And you know a lot more than you give yourself credit for! Practice at home, and you’ll be great when your in the shoot itself!

    xoxox, Me Ra

  11. Samantha says:

    Oh my gosh! I completely forgot that you had other products besides the Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box! Thank you for coming back and answering all these great questions – and for mentioning your Portrait 101 Kit.

  12. […] To see some rockin’ photos and to read about Me Ra looking for and finding the best lighting on a recent baby photo session, click here. […]