Taking a picture of a room interior with the view outside

Today we will talk about making a picture that shows both the inside of a room and the view trough the window – and we’ll do it when the view outside is in direct mid day sun.

Let’s begin with two test shots just to show the problem:

For the first shot I’ve used spot metering to expose for the outside, it is very bright outside and I wanted to add a flash later so I’ve set ISO to 100 (the lowest value on my camera) and the shutter speed to 1/200 – the camera’s max sync speed (the “max sync speed” is the highest shutter speed you can use with a flash), I’ve let the camera select the aperture and the camera selected F/11 and I’ve got this:

The outside is a little bit under exposed because all the white in the picture (but not by much) and the inside is completely dark.

For the next shot I’ve metered for the inside, I’ve let the camera do all the work by spot metering on somewhere in the room that is a little farther than the window and the camera selected f/5 at 1/3 of a second (ISO is still 100) – this got me this picture:

This picture is a little bit over exposed and the colors are washed up (the washed up colors are probably caused by lens flair from the bright light outside).

What those picture show us is that the difference in brightness between the inside and the outside is way to big to capture in a single image.

Now, since the whole post is about capturing both in a single image it’s pretty obvious I’m going to do something to fix the problem – and that something is to increase the brightness of the room to match the outside.

I’ve connected my cheap YN465 external flash to the camera (the built in popup flash doesn’t have the power for this) and pointed it directly up into the ceiling so the reflected light will illuminate the room evenly.

I’ve put the camera in manual mode and set it to expose correctly for the outside, then I’ve taken a few test shots at different flash power settings until I’ve got the inside brightness up to where I want it to be.

For this picture I’ve set the flash on full power and opened up the aperture a bit to f/7.1 to get a bit more light both for the inside and the outside.

Note that the outside is still much brighter – this is because I didn’t want to make the inside and outside the same brightness, I don’t want to hide the fact that it’s eye-hurting bright outside and a little dark inside – I just want to get them to the point I can capture both in the same picture (if I did get the inside and outside to be at the same brightness it wouldn’t look natural).

Now that we got the camera and flash settings dialed in we can bring in our model and start taking pictures:

If we try to take that picture without the flash we will get a silhouette – and that’s the topic for next week.

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