For professional and artistic purposes alike, photographing interior spaces is challenging but extremely rewarding. There are many factors to take into account but if you do it right you end up with spectacular photos to use on your art photography portfolio, small business website, real estate promotional material, and more.
Shooting interiors is quite different from shooting nature, activities or portraits. When the subject of your photo is the space itself, you want to pay attention to different things than when you are sitting in front of a person or chasing after wedding guests. In this post, we will walk you through the key points of interior photography, divided into three stages: preparation, shooting and editing.
Let’s get deep inside the practice of shooting interiors.
Study your surroundings: A good session indoors should begin with a short tour of the premises. You want to think about the best angles for different type of shots, make a note on unique elements to focus on, but also – and this is important – set a time frame for the shoot and make sure you stick to it.
Optimize the space: During your warm-up tour you may notice potential aesthetic hazards that should be dealt with in advance – clutter, damage, design fails etc. Now is the time to remove them. In addition, you may choose to add objects that introduce some charm, or re-arrange the space to fit your vision.
Shine the light: Perhaps the important technical challenge of interior photography is lighting. Before you even begin to set up your camera, think about the existing lighting in the space – natural and unnatural. You want to make sure that you have the ideal lighting for shooting crisp and bright photos. It’s a good idea to bring with you extra lighting gear just in case.
Get the lighting right: Back to this crucial point. When you take your photos, you want a somewhat longer exposure that generates a warm lighting, and low ISO (100-200) for reduced noise. A useful trick is to use existing surfaces to bounce the light off of. This adds a natural, light feeling to the final image.
Beware of glare: You’ll find that some surfaces add an undesired shiny glare to your photos, especially glass, marble and some tiles. You want to avoid facing this issue in the post-shoot editing phase by choosing the angle of reflection that will neutralize the glare.
Position yourself: It’s extremely difficult to shoot interiors and try to capture the entire space in one frame. Standing in corners will get you the broadest scope, and you’ll definitely find yourself standing in many corners as an interior photographer. But sometimes you get your best shot not by capturing as much of the space as possible but the most interesting parts of it. When you move around and snap, try to find those angles and positions that reveal these parts. Keep the straight lines straight: A clear sense of orientation is important for images of interiors. In most cases, the images will show different objects – furniture, wall lines, stairs, etc. – that mark clear lines on the image. You want to make sure that these lines are straight to keep the viewer’s orientation of the photo simple.
Balance the colors: A key task of post-shoot editing in interior photography is balancing the photo’s colors. For standard real estate photos, you want the images on the warmer rather than colder side, while interior design portfolios with a minimalist style look better with a cool color setting.
Correct darkness and brightness: Thought your light setting was perfect, but now you keep noticing menacing shadows and impossibly bright spots? No worries, you can rely on the Photoshop brushes (or any other tool you like using) to jump in.
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