If you were to flip through my instagram, you might think that my house is perfectly clean. Or maybe that I have spacious rooms and big, organized closets. Or maybe you just think I have access to lots of natural light. But the truth is, I don’t have any of that. I may capture real life in my photos, but I definitely pick and choose what part of real life makes it into my photographs. (i.e. not the clutter!) Instead, I pick and choose backdrops in my home!
Come wintertime, I take tons of photos indoors. The problem is, my large room is dark. My bright rooms are small. Some of my indoor photography involves the tips from this post, but really, a lot of it is picking and choosing the right backdrops in your home, hiding the clutter, and making the best of your light!
How to find the best backdrops in your home:
First, I want to share with you a picture I took of Anabelle before I entered her bedroom. The room isn’t horribly messy (I do tend to keep my house on the cleaner side of the scale), but the clutter on the floor and the unmade beds just don’t photograph well. My whole library of photos could easily look just like this one.
1. Move the clutter aside.
This is a no brainer. Clutter can quickly ruin a photo! I’m a huge fan of baskets because a) We have little to no closet space and this is an easy solution, b) I can teach the kids how to pick up their own toys, and c) Because I can quickly throw the toys in a basket when I decide to whip out my camera. Even though the toys are sometimes still visible, like in these wire baskets, it still tidies up the room and improves the photo.
2. Use a wall.
A single wall gives you one of the cleanest backdrops in your home. While I often take candid photos, I do love a good portrait every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be a purely white wall either. It can be a solid color, or an accent wall.
In the girls’ bedroom, I put up these adorable urban wall decals! It’s currently one of my favorite backdrops when I stray from my white, because it’s so playful. Plus, it’s very colorful and a fun focal point! They were a bit time consuming to put up (one Sunday morning and early afternoon) but they were worth every second! The directions were very straight forward, I was just a perfectionist and took my sweet time adhering them… (Plus that ferris wheel was tricky!) It transformed their room into an inspiring play space, and it turned an empty, boring wall into a fun backdrop!
(I can’t get enough of her “cheese” face! Her first words were, “mama, dada, hi, bye, and cheese”)
3. Utilize your long views.
Not every good photo needs a simple backdrop, sometimes it needs a scene. If you take ten steps back (after throwing any random clutter in a basket), get low and capture the scene from afar, you can take beautiful lifestyle photos rather than simple, at-home portraits in front of a wall.
4. Follow the light.
You could use reflectors, but my favorite color to paint my walls happens to be white, which provides a convenient, natural reflector. Most of the rooms in my house are not naturally bright, so I like to make sure the natural light is either lighting up the room or reflecting off the walls for brighter photos! Also, positioning your little subjects near windows is a huge help!
5. Use lines to frame your photo.
My subjects are usually my two girls. When I can use lines to creatively frame them, my photos always come out more interesting. My favorite is to take a picture of them while standing in a different room, and I use the doorway as a frame around them within my photo. But in the photo below, I actually managed to use their teepee to frame them. The triangular lines of the tent framed their visible limbs.
And that is how you find, use and light up the best backdrops in your home! I definitely have my favorite spots in our house that I commonly go to for photos, but I’m always trying to learn new corners and take advantage when they are near a window!