How to Photograph Interiors?

Friday: Design & Co.

Today, will be more the “Co.” part of the Design & Co. day post. What I would like to do today, is re-propose to you an article I read some months ago on Fresh Home about how to photograph an interior like a professional. You can find the original article here, and below it will be my re-post.

You might have the most beautiful apartment in the world, but try photographing it well so that its beauty truly shows. You will probably get an average looking apartment in that photograph and you, well, you will just give up in frustration. Interiors photograph is probably the most difficult kind of photography out there, trust me, it is difficult.

So, how to photograph an interior like a photographer? Or, simply, how to photograph it so that it looks good?

Fresh Home gives 8 tips, and I think they are spot on.

1. Copy

2. Equipment

3. Stage your space

4. Select your space

5. Declutter

6. Find your focus

7. Lighting

8. Choose the angle

and shoot.

So what about each of those points? Let me go over them briefly, but one by one.

Interiors1. Copy

Copy the style and design of the professional photographers. Anyways, by the end of the day, interior photographs all have the same basis. Browse design websites, is a good one for example, Pinterest has some great ideas or just google it! Pick up some home decor magazines and just look and imagine. Pay attention to how the objects are displayed, the angles and the lights. At first it will be overwhelming, but with time you will start seeing which ones you like more and these will start influencing for the best the photographs you take. And, remember, do not be put off by the majestic homes you see photographed, and just pay attention to the light, angle and details which can be applied to any living space!



2. Equipment

Get a good camera. As much as I love iPhones, in this case, to take a good picture, you need a good camera. SLR are the best option here as they would help you capture the best light and the clearest resolution. Editing tools are also important, from free ones like Picasa, to paid ones like Photoshop. If you are lucky enough to have a wide-angle lens in your camera, or know someone who has, borrow it and use it. Be careful though not to be using the fish eye or a wide-angle which is too wide as this would distort the picture.


3. Stage your space

Like at theatre. Make your space lived in. It must not be too cluttered, nor empty and clear from everything. Here comes into the play, what I call the “strategically left blanket”. By looking through interior design photographs, I noticed that photographs often like to leave a blanket on a sofa, or on a bed, left there as if someone just got up and left it there. It looks good in those photographs and gives a somewhat “homey” feeling to the picture. Funny thing is that I have never been able to copy that well enough and it always looks just simply, purely untidy in my photographs, but perhaps you can give it a try, and you might be more skillful than me! 😀 But anyways, like I said, make your space living, add details, can be fruit and vegetables in the kitchen, plants in the living room or even a TV on or a book open on a table.


4. Select your space

Decide who your audience is, and select what you want to show them. Are you selling a home? Are you renting it? Is it a holiday stay? Or you are a designer? Play around with the angles, try to zoom in and out, focus on different spots, could be a table, a leg of a chair, a plant or a lamp. Go around your place and look at it at different angles and different heights as well as under different lights.


5. Declutter

While keeping your home looking alive, remove anything that is not necessary. You absolutely do not want to see cables, cables of all kind, hanging, on the floor or anywhere else. Cables must be removed from the photograph. They are distracting, full stop. Get your paintings straight. After cables like snakes, there is nothing more distracting than a painting not hanging straight. And after that, or before, order up to you, another horrible thing is to have not ironed bed sheets showing up. The bed has to be clean, intact and tidy. Few objects should be shown, and those are mostly for decorative purposes and just few, like an open book or slippers by the bed side, which make the looker feel like at home.


6. Find your focus

All this that you’re doing is because you will have your focus set by now. Make sure you stick to it. Find the main idea you want to portray and stick to it. Clean all the surroundings of your focus. Play around with the angle and the perspective. Try photographs both horizontal and vertical. While horizontal will be the easiest and most friendly option, a vertical photograph might give a more dramatic look.


7. Lighting, lighting and lighting

Perhaps the most important and difficult aspect: light. The best would be to have natural light, so try to wait for a sunny day. However, stay away from direct exposure to a window, as the too strong light might destroy the exposure in your photograph with an overly white exterior or too dark interior. The general rule is the Eastward rooms should be taken in the morning and Westward rooms in the afternoon, and rooms with a North or South exposure, will just have to be taken at the moment of the day when they are the lightest. A great effect though is a the early morning or sunset light. The yellowish light gives a much warmer touch to the room and it could give a quite magical touch to the photograph. The trick here would be to play around with the times of the day and just pick your favourite.


8. Choose the angle

The last fundamental aspect you need to follow, is, after having decided who is your audience, what you want to focus on, and after having set the scene and prepared the light, choose your angle. Decide whether it looks better from a low or high angle, whether is better to have the photograph shot centrally or laterally, using a perspective. Follow your angles and play around with them until you don’t find the perfect one. Once you are set, press that button and get your apartment wonderfully displayed on a photograph!


I hope reading through this has either given you an idea or has already made you stand up with camera in hand ready to take on the challenge! What can I say more? Have fun!



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