Now is the time for lots of parties, gatherings and gigs – all include photos of people!

At this time of year it’s gets dark really early so we don’t have the luxury of much natural light to use for indoor photography. In order to make the best use of natural light for people photos use a big window – the bigger the better because it’ll give more light. You may well have to up your camera ISO. However if you use high ISO’s then expect to get noise (ISO 800+). It may not notice and you may prefer just to live with it. Noise will also be less intrusive if you shoot or convert your images to black and white


This great atmospheric shot (above) uses available light (no flash) there is obviously no natural light, only available light so it must’ve been shot with a high ISO.  However the camera has produced very little ‘noise’ on the image

If you’re shooting indoor events like parties or bands and your camera doesn’t produce good images at high ISOs (ie too much noise) you’ll have no alternative but to use flash as a means to getting your shots. Using a built in camera flash is never going to get the best results – you’ll get hot spots, red-eye, unwanted reflections – it’s just not very flattering for people and often not powerful enough. I’d recommend that you only use a built in pop-up flash it if you have no alternative

The best indoor shots of events using flash will be obtained with a separate external flash unit, you don’t have to pay over the odds. Check out these excellent Yongnuo flash units

You’ll get better results if the flash is ‘bounced’ off (pointed towards) a ceiling or a wall. Bear in mind the light will then take on the colour of the wall or ceiling so stick to white, off white or light grey colours. If the wall is green you’re pictures of party goers will look very green! This technique won’t work if the ceiling is very high – then you’ll have to use a diffuser

When buying an external flash unit make sure the flash ‘head’ can both tilt AND swivel. If it can’t swivel and you rotate your camera from landscape to portrait orientation you won’t be able to continue bouncing the light off a ceiling.

Timing, anticipation and composition are also very important(that’ll be another blog) but first you’ll have to have the tools to do the job. Good luck!