Interior Photography Tips: Think Outside the Box
April 7, 2014
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Architects, contractors and remodeling companies need great photographs to show off their work, and interior photography is a great way to showcase your skills in a portfolio. If you're looking to remodel your portfolio, check out these interior photography tips that will help you turn stunning spaces into stunning images.
Capture the Mood
Interior photography is about more than just portraying the room itself — you need to focus on capturing the mood of the room. Bedrooms tend to be restful, kitchens are often bright and vibrant, living rooms large and airy, and bathrooms are bright and clean. To achieve these looks, it's important to work with the ambient lighting in the room and not against it. If appropriate for the room, don't be afraid to use a warmer white balance than you normally would. Warm tones are considered comfortable and cozy.
If you must use flash, balance it with the ambient light in the room, both in intensity and color temperature. Walls and ceilings are great reflectors, but avoid bouncing your light off brightly colored walls and surfaces because this will color the rest of the image. On a similar note, be aware of the room's reflective surfaces and work to keep your equipment or yourself from appearing in the images, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms.
Setting the Stage
When setting up the room for the photo shoot, remember interior photography isn't necessarily about portraying the room exactly the way it is seen and used every day. It's more about showing a stylized, ideal rendition of that room. So, much like a play, set your stage appropriately. Arrange easily moved furniture, appliances and art to enhance the appearance of the room.
It's also important to remember that less is more when it comes to props and staging. Before you begin shooting, take a look around the room for excess clutter such as remote controls and magazines on coffee tables, kitchen counters with too many small appliances on them and so on. Keep the room clean, simple and free of excessive knickknacks.
When it comes to the shoot itself, the first piece of equipment to unpack is your tripod. As you work with ambient light and smaller apertures to get as much of the room in focus as possible, you will encounter shutter speeds slow enough to result in camera shake. It's important for these images to be as sharp as possible, so don't try holding your camera in your hands. If your tripod doesn't have a built-in level, bring one with you. Keeping the camera level will keep your horizontal lines in the image level and not make viewers feel as if everything is about to slide to one side.
Standing in the corner of a room and using a wide-angle lens will help you get as much of the room in the shot as possible, as well as make the room appear larger, which is always a bonus. However, be careful with wide-angle lenses that distort the edge of the frame. Curved walls, ceilings and floors look unnatural and can be distracting.
Additionally, while shooting in JPG is certainly convenient, you should be shooting in RAW to get the most out of your interior photography. RAW allows you to adjust the image white balance and exposure after the fact for greater editing flexibility. This allows you to create higher-quality images than ones shot in JPG.
Do Your Homework
The best part about interior photography is that it's easy to practice — you don't even need to leave your home! So, before you book your first shoot, take your camera, lights and these interior photography tips into your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom and give it a try. You might not make any money, but you may be surprised at how good your house looks!
Photo credit: Morguefile