How To Shoot Interiors That Are Magazine-Ready
Shooting interiors is a rarefied skill that will come in handy if you have clients who want to advertise their inside spaces for business purposes. Think anything from a restaurant and a place of entertainment to a museum, gallery and even a realtor who wants to stage the inside of his or her listing.
Select publications will pay good money for high-quality shots of interiors, so this photography niche can also be quite lucrative… if you have the right skillset. While it may seem like a cinch to take a picture indoors, interiors can be notoriously tricky and present a challenge that may catch some photographers off-guard. Here are some tactics to help you get excellent interior shots each time!
It Really Has to Do With the Lighting
Interior photography is perhaps the one niche where lighting has to be 100% spot-on, or else the shot will come out poorly. In other words: Live by the bad lighting; die by the bad lighting.
Make sure that all lights in the indoor space are on, thus giving color differentiation and more depth to your scene. Ensure that there aren’t any reflections from the usual suspects like mirrors and windows. Natural light should be priority number one, yet there are situations when even additional light can boost your image quality that much further. You don’t need to go overboard; using a strobe or smaller flash units is enough.
Overall, you want to create an image where the light flows naturally to assist with leading the eyes of your viewers. In essence, your objective should be natural-looking and transparent light throughout the whole frame.
Tidying up the Interior
The look of your interiors needs to be well-organized and neat. You’re probably going to be shooting for mainly businesses that want to promote their establishments or publications that want to showcase aesthetically attractive interiors. In both situations, fixing up the interior to make it as tidy as possible is paramount.
Think of how interiors look in magazines and catalogs; if you’re setting up your shot, make it a point to copy that editorial and polished, if not idealized, appearance!
At the same time, using the appropriate accessories can help bring more of an evocative quality to your interior shot. For instance, something as fundamental as a stack of newspapers or magazines on a coffee table or even the floor can deliver that vibe to your photo that makes it pop. While you’re at it, don’t be shy about even moving some furniture around to get the neat and polished look that you’re going for.
Taking snapshots into the corner of your indoor space is a strategically brilliant move since it’ll make the room look bigger. When the room looks bigger than it really is, it feels more inhabitable and inviting, two big factors that make interior shots appealing.
Shoot from a low position, and use a wide lens, yet don’t use such a wide lens that you’re avoiding distortion. Whatever you do, never shoot a wall straight from the front! It’ll have the tendency to create a flatter-looking wall in the image. Plus, a wall can sometimes bend in an unnatural-looking way on camera.
Leaf through any good interior magazine to understand how shooting into corners is a technique that’s well-established and very helpful!
Using the Right Equipment
While a wide-angle lens will come in handy for interior shots, so will a standard lens (35mm to 50mm), which you should take along, too. A standard lens will let you get a great close up of smaller details you might want to shoot to support your wide-angle shots.
And while you’re at it, don’t limit yourself to just these two lens types. Use a macro lens to help you capture even finer details. This will come in handy if you’re photographing in a special location, such as inside a five-star hotel or even an offbeat attraction.
Tripod… All the Way
Interior photography is too important to entrust to your hands. That’s why you should shoot all interior shots from a tripod, so you can eliminate any camera shake from jittery hands. After all, you want to shoot high-quality images that are ready for magazines, so reduce the chance of errors further by using your tripod.
Further, you don’t want to hurt your image as a budding interior photographer by submitting any shots that are blurry and suffer from camera shake! Plus, if you’re working with an interior designer for any particular shot, then your shaky shots will also make him or her look bad, which isn’t fair.
Allow the Interior Space to Showcase Its Strengths
Sometimes, your biggest ally in interior shots is the actual location itself! This all depends on the character and uniqueness of the space that you’ve chosen to shoot.
For instance, if you’re shooting inside of an old brick building, look for the classic and unique brick work to speak for itself. Highlight the unmistakably unique detailing and lines. If there are any unorthodox or even quirky areas within the brick, then, by all means, shoot those, too.
The same is true with a newer, more modern building. If there’s anything eye-catching about its architecture–maybe it’s a radical design element or something that seems a bit too hip–include that in the shot as well.
Polished Shots for Magazine Worthiness
You can do interior shots in two ways. Simply winging them, which won’t give you good-quality shots, but will accomplish the basic task of photographing an interior. If you use the above tips when shooting interiors, though, you’ll get much closer to creating great images that are worthy to be published in a magazine.
If your ambition is to have your work featured in a magazine and even be a full-time interior photographer, it’d be a very good idea to focus on all of these techniques that are especially geared to making your indoor photography look sharp and polished. In other words, ready for the glossy pages of a highfaluting magazine!