Fancy flash equipment is expensive and can result in weird shadows. Tripods work – but who has the time? Good news, a DSLR with a wide angle lens will do the job perfectly, here’s how you do it.

1. Let there be light

Lights on – every bulb possible, get the blinds open and curtains drawn back. Throw open the doors and light up the neighbouring room too – the more photons bouncing around the better. Keep the TV off though. That’s a light source that won’t help.

2. Set your exposure

Spin the settings wheel to Tv (or S), then use the settings cog to adjust the shutter speed to 1/5 (one-fifth of a second). More on this in our article on camera settings.

Be aware, this is a long time for the shutter to be open. The advantage is that loads of light can flood in, the disadvantage is that any movement by you will cause blur, so stay very still!

3. Keep very still when you take the shot

Here’s my foolproof way of turning oneself into a human tripod:

  1. Go to the corner of the room.
  2. Crouch down so the camera is at roughly waist height.
  3. Lean back against the wall(s) so that you are supported while you shoot.
  4. Raise the camera to your face and brace your elbows against the walls.
  5. Take a deep breath and hold it whilst you snap the perfect property shot.
  6. If you can’t get into the corner and to its lovely supportive walls, choose the next best thing. A door frame, a kitchen counter top or your humble knee are all decent options. They’re all still better ways to keep your camera supported than a tripod (I really have a thing about tripods, read more about this here >).

4. Shoot, and adjust

Go ahead and shoot. Then take a look at the photo on the screen. Now it’s time to troubleshoot. By the way, now would be a good time to quickly read our article on camera settings if you don’t know what the Av (or Ev) button is.

Now, one of three things will happen.

Either: the image will look good, the image will be too dark (underexposed), or the image will look too light (overexposed).

  • If it looks good – job done. High-five yourself and move on to the next shot
  • If it’s too dark – use the Av button and adjust the setting up towards +1, +2 or +3.
  • If it’s too bright – use the Av button and adjust the setting down towards -1, -2 or -3.
  • If the photo looks blurry, throw the camera in the nearest bin. Or, take the photo again, being extra still. If you still aren’t getting a sharp photo, turn the shutter speed up a notch, try 1/6 and then compensate with an even higher Av (Ev).

5. Adobe Lightroom to the rescue

Even if you nail steps 1 – 4, sometimes dark internal shots just don’t look good. If I had a pound for every time I thought “well this shot isn’t going to be all that great, oh well, I’v done what I can” then I’d be balling.

Here’s what I love about Lightroom, you can import a dark and dingy image you have lost all hope with, and after a few minutes adjusting and tweaking all the sliders, the finished image comes out looking the mutts nuts.


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Yes dark rooms are tricky to get right, but it can be done with just the camera and Adobe Lightroom. If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to use Lightroom then that’s fine, we can do that part for you – you’re welcome. We can boost colours, lift shadows, sharpen clarity, remove objects, insert blue sky and much more.

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Alex Stretton