Interior Photography: How It’s Done or “Per Aspera Ad Astra”

This genre of photography has always been in high demand, especially in rapidly developing cities. Real estate, hospitality, restaurants and bars, and even individuals are often seeking professional support with interior photography. Attractive images are crucial for all properties no matter how big or small, particularly in the circumstances of tough competition. The photographs must catch your eye and suggest invitingly, making those places your new home or a “holiday home away from home”.

On the surface it may seem like an easy job to take a photo of a room, however, there’s much more to it than meets the eye. To showcase all the benefits of an interior requires thorough technical skill, attention to detail and of course creativity. Here is an assortment of tips that will help you when planning your next interior shoot!

Identify Your Target Tier: High-End vs Casual

Interior photography can be of 2 different types: high-end and casual.

What is the difference? The amount of effort and time spent. These two factors will inevitably affect the result and the cost.

Casual interior photography will be significantly cheaper, the process is faster and editing is minimal. The result will work well for small businesses like hostels, guest houses and private apartments for sale or rent.

However, if you are shooting for a 5-star hotel or luxury real-estate property – casual photography is not the best option, you’d need to know how to go high-end.

Bracket and Tastefully Blend Natural Light with Flash   

The difference between the two types is in lighting techniques and image compositing which consumes quite a bit of time when working on-site, as well as adds time to post-production. The trick is to shoot many images at the same angle with different exposures, then light every important object in the room the best way possible and then to layer images on top of each other, to achieve the best lighting and color for each part of the image. Pretty much, to make one high-end image you need to make a composite of ten shots. Check out the pics below to see the work in progress!

Bracketing

Flash work

Take the best components of each image during the post-production work, put them together, and there you go, the perfect room is ready!

Beachfront - Dining Room.jpg

Be Prepared!

Remember, when taking photos you are capturing reality despite the enhancements of post-production work. The less retouching your photograph will need, the more honest and engaging it will look. That’s why it is important to make sure that reality actually meets expectations in the final image.

Instruct your client to prepare well, organize the correct approved set-up, make sure the windows are cleaned before you start the shoot. When taking photographs of the bedroom – keep an eye on the bed linen – they are your friends and your enemies at the same time! They are your friends when nicely ironed. If they are wrinkly form the get go – it will take you hours of retouching work to rejuvenate them. Clean carpets and dust-free surfaces are also great assets. Fixing those little things in reality before the shoot will save you and your client a lot of time, which is always an important consideration.

Gear

Firstly, let’s think of what we trying to achieve:

  • Wide angle

  • Straight lines

  • Right light

To get this right you will need a tripod – that’s a must. We recommend using tilt-shift lenses from 16 to 24 mm. If you don’t have a tilt-shift – regular lenses from 10 to 24 mm should do the job also.

Now, when the basics are taken care of – let’s get creative!

Props that Tell a Story

Keep in mind: one of the things that makes an image great is the props (books, magazines, plants, devices, glassware, etc.). Of course, remember that props need to make sense depending on the atmosphere you are trying to create, also make sure not to overload the frame.

You want to indicate the human presence in the room, make it feel more like home? Drop a nice scarf on the armchair, place a steaming cup of coffee on the table next to an open book and there you go – you are painting the story of an elegant sophisticated lady who was here just a second ago, you can almost feel the smell of her exquisite perfume in the air. Yes, she lives here, and yes, everyone dreams to be her!

This is just one example of building up the mood with photography. Discuss with your client carefully what atmosphere they wish to achieve and then go ahead – create the story.

Image Editing in the Compositing Technique

This will make a massive difference if you’ve selected the tougher route to greater results with high-end photography. You’re aiming to composite flash and ambient light shots into a single image. Use the naturally lit shot as a base, then start blending layers and masking. It may take you up to an hour for each image just to assemble the right bits and pieces together. Once it’s done ensure the consistency of colors and move on to removing imperfections that are left, if any.

Take a look at the final result! Looks great doesn’t it? It’s totally worth working your way through hardships to the stars to attain this beauty!