11 Tips on Shooting Interiors
November 8, 2017
Are you sitting comfortably in your sofa? Looking for ideas on what to shoot next? Well, just photograph what is right in front of you – your home (or any other you have access to) is your next model.
Here are 11 Tips on various stages of shooting interiors. Some are quite simple, some are starting points for new blog articles to come. As a stock contributor, you should realize there are no exactly the same rooms, so your subject potential is high. Fortunately, the commercial demand of interior images is also satisfying.
1.Each room has at least one point, from which it looks best . Before grabbing your camera, try to find that point, walk around, determine optimal camera height, then place your tripod there. Take a test shot. Spend some time perfecting the image (details below). After you’re done with it, move to those less attractive points of the room to find details which will later add to the atmosphere the room has.
2.The test shot will show you what elements are to be removed. Tidy the scene. Align chairs, straighten curtains, add some flowers etc. Elements that are hard to remove, but are still messy, can be improved in post-processing by clone tool, but you’ll save yourself some precious time by doing the cleaning/styling before taking the photos.
3.Analyze the light you have, this will determine techniques you may use, such as HDR, multiple exposures for layers, using speedlights or just ambient light etc. Windows and harsh outside light may cause particularly difficult situations and not always can you get back to the room at a better time. Knowing the tools and tricks will surely help.
4.Watch for vertical lines and make them really vertical in your image. Your camera probably has a LiveView function and grid lines – use them. I highly recommend a good tripod head, you’ll control those camera angles with less effort. So diagonal lines are bad, you may ask? No, go crazy diagonal for creative dynamic effect, but don't let false verticals spoil the shot.
5.Always shoot RAW. Bracketed RAW. Memory cards are big and cheap nowadays. I can’t count the times those saved my interior shooting day and provided me with material I was able to use in post-processing.
6.For general view of the room, use higher apertures (around f11 or more). At this point your lens usually performs best and the whole scene looks sharp. Focus on the point where your depth of field covers the whole scene. Wide apertures are great for room details.
7.Even when you’re shooting at daytime, try turning on the room lights. It is not much realistic but more often than not, the room looks better with bulbs/LEDs on. Experiment with that, take two or more versions with different lights combinations.
8.In post-processing, remove the unattractive elements such as dangling cables, stains/cracks on walls, sensor dust, etc. Assuming the image will be an RF-stock one, remove logos, brand names. Quite often you’ll find color correction useful – see if your image looks better with yellow channel dimmed.
9.Final part – keywording. It’s crucial you think as a buyer. So, say you have a kitchen photo. Apart from the obvious (kitchen, interior, room etc) think of the assets the room have (oak furniture, large windows, marble counter/counter, LED lights, vertical blinds) and the style (classic, modern, vintage, contemporary). Interior buyers use the images to illustrate their articles, and they are often about one of those details.
10.Even if the interior is the hero of your shot, consider adding people in it. Let them do something in the room. You can even go without MR, because it’s easy to nicely blur them when you shoot at slow shutter speed.
11.Follow up with your most successful sellers. Analyze your online portfolio and see which images sold best. If you can, take more photos of the location at different time/light. Check the „Buyer searched for” feature regularly. Compare with images that didn’t sell for a long time, try improving their keywording (see point 9). And find another interior to shoot!