The #1 Tip for Taking Photos of the Inside of Your House

lights on and off

One simple change I’ve used over the years to get more even light in the photos I take of the inside of my house is to turn off all the lamps.

In real life, I like the lamps on, but in photos, it makes the light seem weird.

lights on

I am by no means a great photographer. I take all the pictures for this blog and took all the photos in my book–all with a Nikon (currently the D7000) with the flash off, on an automatic setting. They aren’t perfect, but they’ve been good enough for the blog, book and have even been used in shelter magazines–it truly doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

It’s been a goal of mine for years to learn how to truly use this lovely camera–but I just haven’t taken the time.

And I don’t use Photoshop–not because I don’t think it’s worth the investment–I’m positive it is, I just haven’t wanted to deal with the learning curve that goes with it. It’s been on my goal list for a few years and I haven’t gotten around to it.

lights off

I still struggle with taking photos in this house, it has big windows but it also has a wrap around covered porch and this room is on the north side of the house so natural lighting is a huge challenge. So I wait for the sun, turn off my lamps, and use the free photo editing program that came with my computer to lighten it up just a bit.

lights on

lights on

lights off

lights off


a little bit of editing in iPhoto

Why did I take photos while I was in the middle of mopping the floor? I have no idea, but you can see the difference between lights on, lights off, and just a little bit of photo editing.


Whether you are using your phone or a camera, if you are taking photos of the inside of your house take a second to turn off the unnatural lights and get in a position where you get the most natural light possible. Also, maybe don’t take photos while you are in the middle of mopping your floor.


  1. Great advice. I’m having a hard time learning how to best photograph my house.

  2. Totally agree! I do the same thing and sometimes I get frustrated that the light looks sooo different with the lights on and off.

  3. Yes! Natural, even light is the way to go…. creates a pleasing and professional look without fuss. Your images are beautiful, and as a photographer and blogger, I read your blog for the photos as much as for the information :)
    And congrats on the book… I finally got myself a copy… and it’s a revelation!!!

  4. Thanks for these tips! I am more guilty of using iPhone pics than I care to admit. I think it makes such a huge difference using a quality camera, even without any crazy skillful photo editing.

  5. Thank you for these tips! I, too, am intimidated to learn Photoshop and just use VSCOCAM and iPhoto. Thanks for the tips until I muster the bravery to take a class!

    Circus & Bloom

  6. I used photoshop elements for years, it has the basics (lighting, levels, brightness/contrast) that you might want. With that said, your photos are beautiful! And good encouragement that we don’t all have to be professional photographers in our home.

  7. No need to learn Photoshop! Lightroom is where it’s at! The learning curve isn’t nearly as steep, and much of the settings will be similar to what you use with iPhoto. You can do SO much more with Lightroom though once you’re ready, but you can also keep the editing sweet and simple if you like! If you never want a little tutorial, I’m happy to help!!

  8. Pictures while mopping..this is why I love your blog so much! Great advice!

  9. Love these photos. Photoshop has been on my To Do List for a year, I purchased the Adobe CS6 Suite a while back and finally took the time to learn the basics. I also purchased two great books so if I get stuck, I can look things up.

  10. I LOVE that you stopped to take photos while you were mopping – makes my ever changing thoughts in my head seem more normal, ha! I am the most side tracked house cleaner ever. But I do get it done : ) Thanks for the tips!!

  11. I never would have thought you didn’t have professional pics. How inspiring!! I have been doing these same techniques that you are describing and they have made all the difference!!

  12. I’m looking at different cameras to buy so I can take better photos of my house for my blog and this is SO helpful. Thank you! Your home and photos are always gorgeous!

  13. Thank you!

  14. Oh, yah, I was going to mention the floor mopping-NOT! I didn’t even notice your partially mopped floor! :o)

  15. I have always enjoyed your photos and can’t tell the difference between yours and Photoshopped photos. At least you can say you were doing two things at once: mopping and working on the blog! P.S. I like your black curtains against the white walls. I’m thinking about doing something similar in our master bedroom.

  16. I just got your book and LOVED it! Thank you for being so honest and open. I love this post too! I love that you have a camera but haven’t learned everything there is about it! I am the same way. I know there are a ton more ways to use it, but I have gotten around to learn it yet. Some day, when I am not trying to build my blog, raise my kids, answer emails and work, I will get around to that! ;-)

  17. Yes lights and lamps can leave a very unnatural orange glow. I much prefer to shoot with as much natural light as possible! Great tips x

  18. Great tips, thank you! I still haven’t taken the time to learn how to use my camera so I just do basic edits.

  19. This is great! Photography is one of the areas I am currently working on and found that in our home I have to take advantage of those peak sunny days for my pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Thank you for the tips! I just posted pics of our recently painted living room, using natural light, as you suggested. Your book and blog have inspired me to move out of my comfort zone and start sharing my home with friends and extended family. Thank you!

  21. My 7 tricks… tripod / self timer / aperture setting / SLLLOWWW shutter / lights off / raw / Lightroom.

    A pro photographer told me to ditch the manual when I got muddy pictures. I listened. And I’ve never switched back.

    Aperture gives priority to your lighting. So if you are in a low light situation but want awesome quality, set your camera to aperture, put it on a tripod, use a self timer, set your distance (F 2 is for close stuff vs F12 is for far stuff) and the camera will do the rest.


    Do it!

    And please email me if it isn’t working. It may take a phone call but I’ll have you shooting off auto immediately.

    Do it. Please? It’ll change your life. :)

  22. Completely agree with learning the camera settings! I learned that you either have to master the camera or the editing software. My photoshop skills far exceed my camera knowledge!!! Self Taught Photoshop expert… never underestimate the value of you tube videos. Start with particular techniques you’d like to try, watch a few videos and go for it!

  23. Just recently bought a digital camera. Trying out a lot of techniques.

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