Indoor Portrait Photography

Step inside for some top tips on capturing indoor portraits using natural light.

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 your friend but too much light can actually be a bad thing. It’s important to study the location and understand the potential benefits or problems that the room you’re working in provides.

This natural light photography example shows an at-home indoor shoot. Karl explains a number of important factors to consider, as well as how to make the most of and control available light.

In this class:

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

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


    1. Excellent, glad you enjoyed it. Please let us know if you have any questions on any of the other classes.

  1. Hi Karl

    Question about Lee filters:
    Do they have their decrease in lighting and diffusion pattern completely correlated or you can choose these properties separately?
    I mean is there an option to have the same 1.5 stops of light decrease as with 216, but with less diffusion, or the opposite – is there a filter with the same level of diffusion, but without loosing 1.5 stops?

    And what # would you recommend along with 216 (1.5 stops) for 1, 0.5 stops? Their site mentions a lot of white diffusion filters with fancy names, but it’s hard to see the difference.


    1. Hi, why are you worried about how many stops of light you are going to loose? I’m not really sure why that is of the most concern to you when it comes to diffusion. The purpose of diffusion material is to diffuse the light, to reduce the hardness of some lights by making them bigger, to take away the collimating effects of some lights by scattering the light path or the most important feature is to change the image forming reflections on gloss surfaces by making the light form a gradation change rather than an abrupt edge to the light.

      As an example I have no idea at all how much loss of light my 216 diff makes as it isn’t relevant to what I’m doing as I would simply turn the light up a bit more to compensate for any light loss with thicker or thinner diffusion material. The main properties of LEE’s range of diffusion material is how much it changes the look of the light and what the spread of the light looks like from the diffusion material. I mostly use LEE 216 or LEE 400Lux for those properties and if you check out our Introduction to Product Photography you will see a more indepth class on using diffusion material. In terms of portrait photography as your comment is in this section I wouldn’t recommend diffusion material for indoor portraits (especially in small rooms) because unlike softboxes which keep the light from escaping in the wrong direction, diffusion material also bounces light backwards around a room causing problems.

      1. Thanks for the detailed answer!

        I asked my question here cause i’m interested in using filter exactly as you used it here – to diffuse the sun light on location (as a scrim), not the studio flashes.

        I really liked the result – from harsh direct sunlight you turned it into very soft, almost studio lighting.
        But what if i’d like to get something in between – like diffuse sun light a bit, but keep it as a prominent key source with mostly directional lighting. I guess i would need a thinner diffusion filter. But Lee has a lot of these neutral filters and i’m not sure what’s the difference.

        1. Hi, for what you describe then I would say that LEE 252 (eight white diff) or LEE 255 (Hollywood Frost) or maybe even something simple like the fabric for net curtains.

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