Successful Real Estate Interior Photography

What's wrong with the picture
What's amis with picture?

Photographing Interiors

Simple but effective techniques I employ for photographing real estate interiors. I don't go too far beyond the basics here or into advanced photographic methods of architecture shooting. If you're goal is to shoot the next Architectural Digest magazine cover, you're in the wrong place. Although an overwhelming majority of you photographing interiors of homes should find a few items in these articles that will improve your photography skills and provide good outcomes. You should begin with an easy task, and use your own judgment about solutions which merit the extra amount of effort and time they may consume. set out below is a brief list of guiding principle, and on the pages that follow I explain in more detail some of the more common issues and my explanations. What's amiss with the picture


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  • Answers: "The Room Appears Too Dark" - updated article Jan15, 2011
  • Answers: "The Room Appears Too Small" - updated article Jan15, 2011
  • Answers: "The Room Appears Too Dilapidated"  - updated article Jan15, 2011
  • Answers: "The View Appears Too Ugly"  - updated article Jan15, 2011

Newbie Basics Begin Here

Find the most flattering angle of view
Angle of view
  1. Look for the most flattering point of view. Move around and find for enjoyable angles. Promote the good attributes and hide any ugly spots by simply changing your location. Shoot from a number of different angles if you're unsure which you like best, then make a decision later.
  2. Back it up! Get yourself into a tight corner or door opening to capture a whole bunch of room. The center of a room just doesn't get it for camera location.
  3. Grasp the camera straight, don't tilt it to either side and don't incline up or down either. A simple to remember approach is to line up the left and right sides of your camera's viewfinder precisely parallel with a vertical line contained in the subject, such as a doorway.
  4. Bring a tripod, even though it might be that $10 freebee than came with your discount video cam. keeping the camera absolutely still will save numerous shots that could be spoiled by a hand-holding the camera.
  5. Get a remote shutter release or use the camera's self-timer and stop holding onto it so you don't jerk it while the shutter is open. The timer may add a second or two, but patience is mine.
  6. Go Down! If composing the shot from straight eye-level position is too high, then sit down on a chair or simply bend your knees to decrease your camera's position. Although get at ease, prior to aiming for a calculated exposure.
  7. Get it Up! Every image does not need to be shot from human eye-level... You need to get in some variety by raising your stature (be extra careful when standing on stuff), or compose from a staircase or balcony.
  8. Adjust for consistent light throughout the entire room to prevent dark areas or over-lit areas (such as sun-exploded windows). Cameras are narrow minded about seeing from dark to light, an the more consistently lit the scene, the more detail that will show up in the image. There are bunches of stuff you can fine-tune, and many combinations: turn lights on/off,, open/close shades, use your flash, bring lamps from other rooms
  9. Treat fluorescent lighting like the Plague. Florescent can show up as ugly-green using film cameras. Blending daylight (windows) with fluorescent and tungsten (normal light bulbs) takes a bunch of expertise, although digital camera having auto white balance can take care of the fusion outdoing film.
  10. Housekeeping factors. Schedule your photo shoot after a housekeeping session, and be on the lookout for vagrant dirt. Take some time to straighten draperies, furniture, linens, and rake out noticeable foot prints in pile carpet by employing a broom. Move all clutter and trash cans out of view.
  11. Overcast skies are near perfect for indoor shooting: the windows appear bright but not be overwhelmingly so.

Property photography tips from Dom Bower

View other informational videos

A few General Suggestions for Real Estate Interior Photography

  • Keep Interior images in crisp focus everywhere. Use proven hyperfocal standards and focus to one-third the way into the scene. Try not to shoot especially close to objects (this just adds to focus problems). Keep your apertures small (usually f/11 to f/16).
  • Mount the camera on a strong tripod, and use longer exposure times to soak up available light. after all Interiors are just still life photography: there is no movement, so long shutter times work well. strong light is not needed... only consistent, even light.
  • Take a calculated moment to compose your image in the camera's viewfinder, envision it being flat two-dimensional image. Interiors normally look complex in photos, so try to keep it simple: take away clutter and mask defects. Keep prominent objects away from the frame edges.
  • Prudently mount the camera onto the tripod: keeping it level and vertically straight, a common occurrence with beginning photographers. Double check vertical object alignment (such as door frames): they ought to be absolutely parallel to the sides of the frame of your viewfinder. Adjust the camera right/left and up/down and until all lines are parallel. Just a little bit of practice this becomes second nature, and it turns out to be a huge difference.
  • Don't meter on white walls or dark furniture, select mid-tone objects, and have no fear of overexposing windows and bright lamps to some extent it's popular right now as we normally want bright rooms, not underexposed shadows.
  • Bracket your images by up to a full plus and minus stop, changing up the shutter speed  -- simple to do with a still life scene. Later, on you can select the most pleasing photo of the three shots, and many times it's not the shot in the middle you've come to expect. With the amount time you invest in shooting, it's worthwhile to be be able to count on choosing the best effect after you've completed the shoot. And different clients might just have a penchant for a somewhat over- or under-exposed feel than you personally care for.
  • Shoot with a wide-angle lens to capture whole rooms and allow them to appear large. There are pitfalls of employing a wide angle lens for all your shots. By doing so you could overlook interesting features: there is unique character to be found in some interiors, particularly in smaller objects or areas, even close-ups. Also looking at a collection with all wide angle shots and no other variety can become somewhat tiresome. .
  • Stay out of the way of mirrors, which can end up showing some of you in the image. Clients will nearly always discard a real-estate photo that includes the photographer (nothing personal).
  • Flash reflecting in glass windows, picture frames, mirrors create intense bright spots in places you didn't imagine them, and will almost always be cause for rejecting the image.
Master Bedroom Photo with Nikon 18-55 lens - Focal length 18mm, on camera flash
Nikon 18-55 lens - Focal length 18mm, on camera flash
Master Bedroom Photo with Sigma 10-20 lens - Focal length 10mm, bounce flash
Sigma 10-20 lens - Focal length 10mm, bounce flash
Stairs Photo with Nikon 18-55 lens - Focal length 18mm, on camera flash
Nikon 18-55 lens - Focal length 18mm, on camera flash
Living Room Photo with Sigma 18-20 lens - 10mm Focal length, bounce flash
Sigma 18-20 lens - 10mm Focal length, bounce flash

Now, onward to the most common problems and their fixes, beginning with the most common of all: The Room Looks Dark.

What's amiss with the image (at the top right)? Nothing drastic, but some explicit enhancements could be made. Begin by employing a wider lens. Drop the height of the tripod just a few inches to keep the camera level allowing for capture of more bed and less ceiling. Take the chair located on the right side away as it adds clutter to the scene. Either move the camera location slightly to the left or take away the desk in the lower right as it's an unwarranted impediment. Switch the tungsten lamp bulbs to halogen high power bulbs to let them radiate a warmer radiance onto the ceiling and furniture. Soften the shadow on the frame of the bed as well as the shadow running across the floor (at the bottom left), by diffusing the flash spot that is lighting the bed using either a shoot-through umbrella or a softbox.

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