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How to Take Better Pictures Indoors

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Ok in spite of the fact that I was rambling on yesterday about not becoming an ‘educational blogger’, I am here today to show you a photography tip. But rest assured it is tried and tested and used by yours truly all the time.

Taking photographs inside is challenging, and with shorter days fast approaching the window for taking good indoor photographs is fast becoming smaller. So let me show you the equipment I invested in to make myself a portable photo studio.


Styrofoam board closeup


Pretty impressive huh.

Didn’t quite get what that was? I don’t blame you. Here is a wide shot.


Styrofoam photo studio 2


I bought myself a pack of 6 inexpensive white Styrofoam boards at the building supply store. They come for the insulation section.

By setting up these white boards I can reflect the light coming in from the window, and prevent harsh shadows. It really works.

This taken in my craft room. My craft room has south facing windows and usually has great light for taking photographs, but there is only light coming in from one side which always gives me big shadows.

My foam boards come to the rescue and reflect the light back on what I want to photograph.

Look at this first shot Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC) so no editing is done to the photo, (never mind the rather dull subject matter this was just for demonstration purposes).


Photography trick


See there is a pretty big shadow to the left. Now look at this picture taking 20 seconds later (the time it took me to put the boards up).


Photography trick 2


That shadow is still there but not nearly as deep.

You can see the difference even better with the pictures I took from my summer mantel. This is the SOOC one before I remembered setting up the boards:


Summer Mantel


And here is the exact same SOOC photograph with the boards:



Can you see how much whiter the white is in this picture, far less muted and grey and the shadow on the left is far less deep.

Here is how this ‘photo studio’ looked like.


Styrofoam boards in photoshoot


I just leaned two boards against the hutch and rested the third one on a chair. To prevent it from slipping off I used a pillow.

Using these white foam boards doesn’t only help to lessen shadows in your picture it gives a nice easy white background for product shots too.

Like here, again in my craft room.


Styrofoam photo studio


Oh and they hide a multitude of sins. Because they are pretty good at hiding clutter behind them.

See here the evidence:


Styrofoam photo studio 1


So from here


Summer Mantel


to here



in seconds with the help of the foam boards

and with some post-processing you got this yesterday


White Summer Mantel with Shells 3


But that is a subject for another post.

So my advice to you. Before the dark days of Fall and winter arrive, get yourself some foam boards and improve your photographs instantly. After all we home décor and craft girls have to have our pictures with each post, even in Fall and winter.


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  1. Funky Junk Interiors says:

    Wonderful! I can't wait to finish my own photo studio so I can have my own stash of boards.

    I'm also working on bringing in some additional diffused light. I'll let you know when I've figured that one out! :)


  2. This is awesome info, Marianne! How simple a technique! Thank you so much!

    I have a question: How do folks make it look like the sun is shining in their windows ALL THE TIME in their interior photos?? Is it some kind of photo editing?


  3. What a great tip, thanks for sharing!

  4. This tip is so helpful! I have the hardest time with indoor shots, but now I have hope for some improvement.

  5. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says:

    Great tips Marianne! I had some foam core boards but then used them for a project. I must get a bigger stash to keep on hand. I have a lot of shadowy rooms.

  6. Tammy@InStitches says:

    Thanks for the tip, I'll have to remember that one !

  7. Thanks for sharing. I like this idea. Hope you are having a great day.

  8. Elly-My Everyday Things says:

    Bedankt voor de tip! Ik zou hier zelf dus nooit aan gedacht hebben!
    Het blijft lastig om binnen goede foto's te maken, zeker met dit grauwe weer. Enne… je schouw is super zo!
    Groetjes Elly

  9. Renee is CreatingCottage says:

    THANK YOU! What a fast, easy, inexpensive and effective way to 'brighten' up our pics. I really needed this. Even though a lot of my items are white, it's a fine line between overexposed and shadowed. I'll be back for more!

  10. Kim @ Cheap Chic Home says:

    Marianne, you're a genius! What a great idea, I'm always fighting the light conditions.

  11. thanks! I was up late last night watching my camera's how to video–this was just or even more helpful– Any advice on working with flourescent lighting?? thanks jess

  12. Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage says:

    What an awesome tip! I never would have thought to do this. Cheap and easy….I love it! Thanks!

  13. Great tutorial. What a difference the boards make. I would love for you to share this project on my Inspiration Board {link party}. I know my readers would really enjoy it.
    Hope to see you there.
    carolyn | homework

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