The Differences Between Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Advancements in photo and video technology over the last ten years have made the art of photography less of a niche and more of something that just about anyone can do. Whether you are into fashion, nature, fitness, etc. there is always the need for photographers. Sometimes these projects are no more than a personal travel album, or sometimes they could be for professional sports competition. Regardless, the equipment and settings are going to change based on what you need. Some need durable, some need detail, but one thing everyone needs is good quality. Luckily, the quality of your photos isn’t always solely dependent on your equipment. Your setting, surroundings, and lighting will all play a major factor for the final product. Here are a few things we thought you should keep in mind about the differences between indoor and outdoor lighting when you have you next shoot.


  • Indoor

The main difference between the two is that indoor settings are much easier to control every aspect.

Indoor, you can either get the effect of unnatural light for shoots like fashion. You can also mimic natural light with different bulbs, screen, and shadows. With the right combination of moving things around, you can create the perfect lighting.

  • Control reflection with special backgrounds

Since you have more control over the actual lighting, you can now manipulate the way it looks with screens, background and reflectors. This will help with shadows in strange places, and allow more detail for the entire photo. You can place lights wherever you want inside so controlling them is the key.

  • Makeup looks different in artificial light

Inside shoots are generally more detailed because of the ability to control most aspect of the environment. When doing an inside shoot it’s important to always have a makeup artist for touch up because even the slightest flaws will show up in the prints.


  • Outdoor

The natural light of shooting outdoors is one of my personal favorites in photography. Sometime the lighting isn’t ideal, but it is those defects that I feel makes photography real art. And although the natural light is harder to control it’s not impossible, here are some pointers.

  • Choose the Right Time of Day
    • Since everything looks more natural outdoors, use nature to your advantage, plan your shoots so the angle of the sun is cooperative to what you want to accomplish. Maybe visit the setting a few times before the actual shoot and pay attention to the movement of the sun and things that may create challenges, like tall trees or buildings.
    • Harder to manipulate with reflectors and screens
      • When you feel like you are comfortable with your new setting, make sure you have the right equipment to manipulate the lighting as best as possible. Screens for shade and reflectors to limit shadows are always essential. If you know what you are doing, you’ll be fine.
    • Usually brighter
      • Obviously, everything outside is usually brighter. Unless you are shooting on a cloudy day, be prepared with plenty of screens and reflectors to limit the amount of defects and maximize control of your natural setting.