There are times when you just can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, but you need to take good pictures of the interior. Quality photos are very important, because that is how you can demonstrate all the advantages of the furnishings in your apartment. You can cope with this task yourself: almost every home now has a DSLR camera, and our smart phones shoot just as well as compact cameras. To make good, beautiful photographs, you need to keep in mind certain rules, which I adhere to in my work. You can use this knowledge for many other purposes, like going to an exhibition or taking a vacation, and you can take great shots. So, let’s learn the techniques and nuances of taking pictures of interiors.
Use a tripod
Often there is too little daylight, so the frames come out blurry. The solution is to use a tripod, which stabilizes the camera and allows you to take pictures with a slow shutter speed. A tripod with a built-in level is a good idea as it makes your work much easier. Also, a heavy, stable tripod is a good idea. Digital cameras allow you to quickly take a picture and immediately see the result on the screen, which is very convenient. Use it to see what the overall composition is and what does not fit in the frame. You can move the camera on a tripod or change the focal length by twisting the lens. And to complete the construction of a good shot, make small changes: for example, rearrange some items of decor or move the furniture a bit.
Shoot from below
When shooting interiors it’s very important to choose the best angle: the composition and the perception of the picture is influenced by how high up the camera is above the floor. From my own experience I usually fix my camera at the height of the door handle or just above my waist. When the camera is below your eye level, you get beautiful pictures, just like in magazines.
Photograph straight ahead
How can you tell the difference between professional and amateur photography? In a picture taken by a professional photographer, the vertical lines will always be vertical, straight. Pay attention to this and keep the camera straight: don’t tilt it up or down. When you tilt the camera, vertical lines get distorted, and this “breaks” the space, interferes with its correct perception.
Don’t use wide angle lenses
This might seem counterintuitive, because a wide angle lens makes it possible to capture more space. But it’s not that simple. The truth is that when you take pictures with a wide angle lens, it can make your pictures look distorted in space and perspective. When you look at these images, you feel the unnaturalness of such an interior. So, if you want to take a good picture, use a standard lens. And move away from the subject. Often professional photographers prefer to sacrifice something and not fit everything in the frame, but not to resort to wide angle lenses. What kind of customer wants photos that distort reality badly?
Don’t use a flash
Proper lighting is paramount in interior photography. It’s great if there is a lot of natural light, but this is often not the case. But I advise you not to overdo it with flash anyway: it can never light up a room evenly and completely. So even the most trivial shot taken without a flash in low light looks nicer. Plus, when you use a tripod, the chance of getting blurry shots is minimal. And if even on a tripod you get blurry shots because of a long exposure, use the self-timer.
Think about the composition
An interesting composition makes a frame expressive. To achieve this, all you need to do is arrange the objects in the frame according to the simple rule of thirds: divide the frame in your mind into three equal parts horizontally and vertically, you’ll have a grid. And if you put the main subject of the picture along the lines or at their intersections, you will get a harmonious picture. In modern cameras, you can set the settings so that you can see the grid in the frame. However, the rule is not ironclad, and you can deviate from it, the main thing – build your frame so that it was balanced, easy to perceive.
Photography is a great hobby that can be turned into a profitable business. There are many kinds of images
that you can try your hand at. For example, it can be nature shots, fashion shots, sports photo shoots, portraits and others. But today we will talk about a specific genre – interior photography.
Usually realtors, designers, construction and renovation companies, decorators, etc. require high-quality photos of such a plan. They turn to photographers for services. Would you like to try your hand in this field as well? Read the article – it will tell you all about creating quality images of rooms.
Why do you need an interior photography
Interior photography is the process of photographing interior rooms, pieces of furniture and finished design projects. With its help you can show different corners of the living room, kitchen, etc. Such shots are mostly used in real estate magazines and rental and sales platforms.
Equipment for professional interior photography
To get high-quality and interesting materials, it is important to use good equipment. Choose the right DSLR camera, lens and additional accessories before shooting.
Camera for interior photography
When photographing interiors, you will need a good camera. It’s best to get a full-frame DSLR camera, as it’s designed for low-light conditions. You will be able to effectively adjust settings as needed and get the best exposure.
Good cameras for interior photography are the following models:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Offers a full-frame 30.4 MP sensor and allows you to shoot photos with high detail. With an ISO range of up to 32000 and effective auto bracketing, it provides excellent quality in low light conditions.
Equipped with a full-frame 45.7 MP sensor that captures an incredible amount of detail. The camera provides innovative technology that provides better illumination of the edges of the sensor. This ensures no dark vignetting in the corners and vivid detail in every image.
Sony Alpha a7R Mark III
The 42-megapixel full-frame sensor with built-in 5-axis stabilization helps deliver sharp images. The A7R III is capable of ISO settings up to 32,000, so you get great pictures without processing.
Lens for interior photography
An interior lens needs to capture light and provide high detail.
Focal length is one of the most important characteristics of optics. It is best to go for a 24mm-35mm lens. Wide-angle lenses are ideal for shooting indoors because they provide a wide view. You should also consider the maximum aperture value, lens tilt and shift.
The Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II is one of the best options for interior photographers, as it offers full perspective control and high sharpness throughout the frame.
In addition to optics, you’ll need to purchase equipment to ensure camera stability and create the right lighting:
It’s important to find the right support for your camera. Tripods provide stability and flexibility when framing a shot.
Light for shooting interiors
The easiest and most budget-friendly option is to use an external flash and bounce it off the ceiling. You can use any model with a swivel head.
How to photograph interiors: tips from professionals
You can avoid many problems and mistakes if you familiarize yourself with the tips of professional photographers:
Prepare for the photo shoot
An important part of creating content is planning a photo shoot. That’s why you need to visit the location before the shoot. This will help you understand which areas are best for creating photo images. You will also see what details can be captured and how the light penetrates the room at certain times of the day.
The night before, you need to charge your batteries, check your equipment is working, and pack your gear.
Set the RAW format.
These images give you a lot of options when processing, but take up more space. You can load this format into a photo editing program and correct underexposed areas without losing quality.
Adjust the camera settings
The first camera setting you need to adjust is the aperture. Interior photos require a closed aperture to keep all details in focus. Set the setting to f/7 or higher.
Then you need to adjust the shutter speed. Setting the aperture high means that you should reduce the shutter speed to let in the most light. The best values for indoor photography are 1/60 to 1/2. To get sharp shots, the equipment must be stationary, so put the camera on a tripod.
To follow the rules of the exposure triangle, adjust the ISO to match the aperture and shutter speed settings. As a rule of thumb, an interior photo shoot requires an ISO of at least 500. Depending on the distance to the light source, the need to increase the setting further will be determined.
For example, if you’re photographing a space away from a window, ISO should be set around 800. If you don’t have a light source other than artificial light, you can use an ISO of 1000 or more. Be careful when setting the light sensitivity too high, as this will cause loss of detail and noise in the image.
Use natural light
Make the most of natural light by opening doors, pulling back curtains and blinds. You can also use additional artificial light. For example, apply an external flash.
Make a nice composition.
How to arrange and photograph the furniture in a room? Use the rule of thirds. Place items at the intersection of lines. Make sure the lines of walls, fixtures, and windows look balanced.
You also need to choose the right camera angles and plans. For magazines, frontal straight angles are most suitable. To create them, you need to mount the camera on a tripod and capture most of the space.
To show volumes or overlaps, take a 45 degree angled perspective
Also pay attention to image plans, i.e. the distance of objects from the camera. There are 4 types most often considered: first plan, first middle, second middle, and far. It’s best to take shots of the different planes. The second middle is suitable for photographing apartments for rent or sale.
Process your shots
Even experienced photographers process work to hide flaws and achieve the best results.
Editors can be used to clean images of all distracting components, remove ugly things and clutter, hide electrical cords, wipe away small dust particles, etc.
For retouching and correcting pictures you can download PhotoMaster photo editor. It is suitable for beginners and advanced users and contains all the options you need to improve your frames. You will be able to adjust the lighting and white balance, remove unwanted objects, reduce digital noise and crop the photo.
Now you know how to properly photograph rooms. You need to prepare your camera, a wide-angle lens and a tripod. You also need to plan the shooting and process the material in a special program. Good luck!
I want to warn you right away that this article will focus mainly on amateur photography. “Try to shoot only at the lowest possible ISO sensitivity or photo with no flash” – this statement can be found everywhere, from Internet forums to reputable printed editions. Many beginner photographers blindly follow this rule, but it often leads to disappointment rather than good results. All the difficulties of shooting in low light most often come down to ISO sensitivity.
ISO sensitivity is a parameter that defines how fast the camera “captures” the picture. Low ISO speeds require slower shutter speeds, but they produce a better quality picture. Handheld photography without the risk of shake at the lowest possible ISO speed is only possible in very good light, such as daytime on the street. Owners of fast lenses are able to shoot at low ISO indoors. However, if you are a lucky owner of a fast 1:3.5-5.6 kit lens, then in low light conditions the question arises – what is the best way to proceed? Usually, there are three options:
- Use the lowest ISO setting and flash
- Use a tripod and continue shooting at your lowest ISO setting (usually 100-200)
- Shoot pictures hand-held without using the flash, increasing the ISO sensitivity to a value at which the shutter speed allows you to take pictures without moving. You can take the shutter speed as low as 1/60th of a second.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of the three options:
Shooting with the flash
“If there’s not enough light – use the flash!” – This is the rule followed by the vast majority of amateur photographers. If you have an external flash and it is not directed at the forehead and, say, the ceiling or the wall, the result is likely to be good. However, not everyone has an external flash, so instead of it in such situations use the built-in flash. I have already talked about the harm of built-in flash – it produces red eyes, unpleasant glare on faces, harsh shadows, can distort colors. The foreground is much brighter than the background, which creates the illusion of “pasted”. It is useless to take pictures of distant objects with a flash – it just can’t reach them.
Based on the above, we can conclude that taking pictures with a built-in flash is a bad option. It makes absolutely no difference what camera you are using – a point-and-shoot, a DSLR, a mirrorless camera (even full frame!). The result will be the same: the foreground on a very dark background. Using flash is categorically contraindicated when shooting through glass, such as in a museum or zoo. Instead of an image of the exhibit or animal, you will get a glare from the flash halfway through the frame.
Using a tripod and taking pictures with a slow shutter speed
This option isn’t bad, but it has two serious limitations. First, you need to have your tripod with you, which in many cases is difficult – it’s not possible to carry it around with you all the time. Secondly, the use of slow shutter speeds noticeably narrows the range of subjects you can capture. The moving objects in the frame even with a half second shutter speed will be hopelessly smeared. If you are shooting a portrait, the slightest movement of the person, such as shifting from one foot to another can also ruin the photo. Thus we conclude that the use of a tripod and slow shutter speed is acceptable only for taking pictures of still objects – landscapes, architecture, monuments.
Increasing ISO Sensitivity and Handheld Shooting
It might make one squeamish if I tell you that most modern cameras allow you to take amateur photographs up to ISO 6400. By acceptable quality in this case I mean sufficient for the most typical use of amateur photos – to post on a social networking site or print out a 10*15 cm format. Here’s an example of a photo taken with an inexpensive mirrorless Olympus E-PM2 at ISO6400. It was downsized to 1600*1200 pixels (exif saved), which is enough to print a 10*15 at about 300dpi.
Naturally, I am not talking about any commercial or artistic value of such photos. No photobank will accept photos of that quality – the noise is noticeable even when the size is reduced significantly. Nevertheless, the photo “looks”. Moreover, if you print the photo on photographic paper you will be surprised to find that the noise is practically invisible – you can see it only on the monitor when you look at the picture at 100% zoom.
How do I adjust my camera to take pictures without a tripod or flash in low light?
1. Select the RAW or RAW+Jpeg format. When taking pictures indoors we often have to deal with non-standard lighting, e.g. power saving lamps with a spectrum that cannot be compensated by using the presets “overcast, sunny, lamp, …”. The picture goes either yellow or green. It is impossible to save color in such photos taken in Jpeg. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, when working with RAW, allows you to bring the color rendition back in the right direction with a one-touch dropper of a deliberately white object. If there is a considerable level of noise in the picture, Jpeg, due to the compression, will definitively kill the detail – noise and useful details will go “under the same rug”. RAW is preferable in this respect, because Lightroom suppresses noise much better than in-camera noise reduction.
2. Sensitivity – Auto ISO. Most cameras have a customizable auto ISO range. By default, the maximum Auto ISO range is around 800-1600 units. It may well be possible to increase it to ISO6400. This allows you to choose the lesser of two evils – the picture will be noisier, but without the shake. Noise can be reduced programmatically, you cannot get rid of it.
3. Program exposure mode or shutter speed priority. When you set the shutter speed to P with auto ISO on, the camera will not let the shutter speed be slower than 1/60th of a second. On some cameras, you can change this setting, for example, to 1/40th of a second. If the aperture is fully open, the shutter speed is set to 1/60th of a second and there isn’t enough light, the camera will “make up” the lacking exposure level by increasing the ISO setting. If the maximum possible ISO level is insufficient, the camera will increase the shutter speed again. The same can be done in the shutter speed priority mode – forcing a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second, and the ISO value the camera will pick up. The only difference from the program exposure is that if the exposure level is not high enough, the device will not increase the shutter speed and will just make an underexposed picture. Why not aperture priority? Because the aperture simply “doesn’t exist” in such conditions. It is completely open and there is no point in closing it, i.e. reducing the light transmission of the lens. Besides, there is a possibility to set slow shutter speed at low ISO that would make handheld shooting impossible. The same is true in manual mode. We set the shutter speed to, say, 1/60th of a second. The aperture is completely open, e.g. f/3.5, but it cannot be wider with a kit lens. But unlike shutter speed priority, M mode most often lacks the ability to automatically adjust ISO sensitivity. We will have to turn the wheel ourselves every time, selecting ISO sensitivity for each particular case by referring to the exposure meter scale and trying to get the exposure level to “zero”. That is, we manually do the kind of work that the robot can do in P and TV(S) modes. At the same time we spend a lot more time on this operation. Is it worth it?
Bonuses and “enhancements”
There are two things that can improve low-light shooting results.
1. Image Stabilizer (IS, VR, Steady Shot). If you have a stabilizer on your lens, it allows you to increase the “safe shutter speed” by about 2 times. That is, you can safely photograph handheld at a shutter speed of about 1/30th of a second. However, the stabilizer “works” only when shooting static objects. It only fixes the frame’s borders for the duration of exposure, but is unable to affect moving objects. As a result, if you increase the shutter speed by 2 times, moving objects have time to overcome 2 times the distance in the frame, respectively, “smeared” by 2 times more.
2. A fast lens. For reference, an inexpensive 50/1.8 Fix at the f/1.8 aperture lets in almost 4 times more light than a kit lens at the short end and 8 (!!!) times more than at the long end. This allows you to lower the ISO sensitivity, or cut the shutter speed by the same 4-8 times. You have to pay for it with strong background blur and “softness” of image, which is inherent to bright optics at open aperture.
Don’t forget about the direction of light!
If you are shooting at home without a flash, the best light sources will be windows. Try to let the light from the window come in from the side, this will give your pictures extra volume. Even for non-stop amateur photos it will come in handy!
I am sure that if you try shooting with light bulb fixes in natural light you will forget the built-in flash is a bad dream. That’s all for now. Have a great time taking pictures!
Photographing interior with windows is probably one of the most difficult tasks when photographing real estate. The high dynamic range that results from the dim interior of the house and the contrasting bright daylight creates exposure problems.
There are many different ways to deal with high dynamic range (bright brights and dark darks). Here are a few options that helped me when I got into real estate photography.
I still find flash to be the easiest way to balance lighting. So how can a flash help? You set the camera exposure to light the windows. But when the windows look good, the room gets too dark.
Now you simply add light to the room by using flash and making it light enough so that the interior matches the exposure of the windows.
The easiest way to do this is to place one flash on the camera and point it directly at the ceiling. Preferably, the flash should be set to full power. Take a picture. This method will brighten the room considerably and make it close to the illumination of the landscape in the window.
Close the blinds
Okay, this method is probably too simple, but it has come in handy in some of my shots. Sometimes you need the blinds to be open so a potential buyer can appreciate the view outside the window.
However, very often there is nothing noteworthy outside the window. For example, there may be a fence, a neighbor’s house that is very close, railroad tracks, or other undesirable scenery. In such a case, it is better to simply blind the windows.
When you close the blinds, it will take away the unwanted view and greatly reduce the dynamic range.
I photographed this room with the blinds closed for a better balance of light, there were no unwanted views outside the window
Tone mapping is the most obvious way to deal with high dynamic range, as in our situation. This technique involves taking three photos (one dark, one with the right exposure, the third light) and using special programs that end up creating a photo with balanced lighting and shadows.
The tonal compression technique is more popular with real estate agents and prospective buyers than with photographers. Professional photographers don’t like HDR photography, but I believe there’s nothing wrong with HDR photos with a little of that effect.
“Organic HDR” is what I call a situation where a photo is taken with medium exposure (windows slightly overexposed, room on the contrary underexposed) and then Lightroom is used to process it. The result is to bring back the light and accentuate the shadows.
Sometimes I call this “doing twine” in Lightroom because of the fact that the lightening slider constantly goes to the left and the shadow slider stretches to the right.
This usually produces a very natural result that is much better than a bracketed shot. An untreated shot also offers endless possibilities for correction and working with it produces excellent results.
Wait for the alignment point
One method of dealing with dynamic range problems is to wait for the alignment point. The equalization point is when the light from outside matches the brightness of the light in the room (usually reached at dusk and dawn).
This is a very good solution for many photographers, since the exterior of the building looks best at regime time, so taking interior shots around that time is a very profitable decision.
In practice, the photographer can’t get good lighting for every shot. Realtors often book photos during hours when the lighting is just awful. However, if you get a chance to photograph at a good time, just pay attention to the alignment point and everything will come out perfect.
I’ve noticed that the alignment point shows up better if you shoot the interior first and then move on to the exterior. So if you are planning to shoot at dusk, shoot the interior first and when you are done, get the perfect time for a mode shot with the dark blue sky and warm lighting of the house.
Allow the light to diffuse
Another option is to simply let the light in the windows diffuse. This is a popular practice in portrait photography. Scattering the background gives the shot a light and airy look, which works well when photographing real estate as well.
I don’t necessarily use this technique every time and would never do it if the view was the main feature when selling a house. However, if you can’t get the house to look bright and clean, this is a possible option.
As in other family and portrait photo shoots, various accessories can be used in such a shoot, which will not only allow you to take atmospheric and diverse photos, but also give them a special meaning.
Let’s take a look with you at what accessories for maternity photo shoots can be considered the most winning and popular.
Baby clothes and shoes
Getting ready to become parents, you have probably already bought a lot of beautiful things for your future child. Hats and bodysuits, dresses and bonnets, overalls and shirts with inscriptions – you probably can not wait to put it all on the baby. To make the waiting was not so tedious, take something of this beauty with you on the photo shoot. The leader in the list of baby clothes to take to the photo shoot, of course, is children’s shoes. Various booties, booties and tiny sneakers will not be able to leave indifferent any expectant mother and will be a cute addition to the image of a pregnant girl.
Another leader of the list of accessories for pregnancy photo shoots are various flowers. These can be single flowers or bouquets, as well as ornaments or wreaths.
Flowers give a woman’s image tenderness and airiness. One of the options for using fresh flowers at the photo shoot is a light nude, where a bouquet plays the role of a part of the “clothing” of the model.
Also quite a popular accessory for pregnancy photo shoots. This can be a single balloon or a whole bunch of balloons. The balloons can be differently colored or monochrome in the color of the sex of the baby.
Decorations on the abdomen
These can be flowers made of fabric, beautiful belts or just a large festive bow. The main thing here is to emphasize the beauty of the tummy, and not to cover it with accessories.
If you have a picture of the ultrasound of your unborn child, it can become a very significant part of the photo shoot. After all, this is the first picture of your baby. Such photos most advantageously look decorated in a beautiful frame.
Various letters and inscriptions have recently become a trend in family photo shoots. Wooden and plastic letters and words, slate, garlands, dice and even letters from the game Scrabble are used. The inscriptions can be quite different: boy or girl, coming soon, family, love, etc. It can be the name of the future child or the expected month of his birth. Also, it can be different funny and touching notes, messages to the baby or meaningful letters and numbers for the family.
Trivia indicating the sex of the child
Very beautiful look different accessories on which you can understand who are expecting parents – a boy or a girl. For a girl, it may be a crown, a doll, a decorative pink pram. For a boy – mustache on a stick, a car, an airplane, a soldier.
A rug is a unique accessory, which can create an atmosphere of coziness and warmth. As an addition to the image for the photo shoot, the rug can be used at any time of year – in summer you can sit on it if the photo shoot is held outdoors, and on cold winter days you can wrap up in it with your husband and feel all the warmth of the family.
Very funny can be photos, where the participants of the shooting listen to what is happening in the belly of the future mother. Especially cute look in the role of “eavesdropping” older children. If there is no stethoscope, simple tin cans will do.
Milk bottles decorated beautifully with a tube and inscription, cupcakes in the color of the baby’s sex, colorful lollipops on a stick will bring bright colors and a great mood into the frame.