6 Dec 2007

How to take indoor pictures without tripods. Part 2

For the pictures of the interior of the shop and the goods on the shelves, I either steadied the camera on the floor or on a piece of shop furniture. For at least one photograph, the camera was nestled onto a bag of dog food and the shooting angle adjusted by stuffing my handkerchief under the lens. Use whatever you have at hand. You may be forced to make some small compromises with composition and angles if you cannot get the camera into exactly the position you would prefer. Don’t let this prevent you gathering pictures.

For the shot of the baskets hanging from the ceiling, I simply rested the camera on its back on the floor pointing upwards. Set the self-timer, stepped back, and the picture took itself.

A variety of methods was used for flash. The camera might be steadied as above, and the flash fired by hand during the long exposure. Or the camera was held in one hand with the flash on the hot shoe with the flash head angled to reflect off a sheet of paper held in my other hand. Sounds like a conjuring trick, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. I also used the on-camera flash for one shot.

For the picture of the rope and walking sticks in the shop doorway, I steadied the camera on the shop counter. Expoure was 1/15sec at f8

Unless your camera has 'live-view' facility, it can sometime be impossible to get your eye down to the viewfinder when it is resting on a table or other surface (see the picture below). In this case, frame the picture as near as possible before you set it up. Then try to aim it as near as possible for the shot you want. You will be surprised how accurate you will become with practice.

For the picture of the row of pot pigs, it was easy to just rest the camera on the floor, aim roughly in the right direction and press the button. Check your image, if you don't get it exactly right first time, try again.

The total time spent in the shop to take some 20 very different photographs was just 45 minutes – time I thought very well spent.

In Part 3, I'll show you how to create natural-looking light with your flash mounted on the camera.

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