5 Tips to Improve Your Interior Architecture Photography
Interior architecture photography (or architectural photography) is one of those disciplines that seems simple at first. However, it can be one of the most challenging in photography due to the varying light, colors, and materials that need to be photographed in one scene. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to improve your interior architecture photography take to your photos from good to great.
- Use a Polarizer Filter. Most people think about using polarizing filters for their exterior photography to reduce the glare on water or add contrast to the sky. Polarizer filters work just as well for interior photography to eliminate glare on most surfaces. Whether it be a coffee table, floor, glass, or a wood wall, using a circular polarizer, such as the Tiffen Circular Polarizer Digital HT, allow a photographer to remove the glare and capture the space – and color – the way the interior designer or architect intended. For more information on using polarizers for interior architectural photography, check-out this article.
2. Shoot Tethered. There is nothing worse than getting home and starting to edit an image and you notice that it isn’t in focus or an object that you don’t want in the shot is there. By shooting tethered, you can view your image on an iPad or computer in real-time. With the ability to zoom in on the image on a larger screen you can fine tune your focus and remove unwanted objects. Not only is this a huge time-saver in post-production, but clients love being able to provide input on the photos on-site. This eliminates the possibility of the client questioning the angle or perspective once they get the final images as they approved it on-site. Camranger makes one of the most popular tethering tools as it is wireless. You can check it out here.
3. Zoom In. Wide-angle lenses are great for making sure you can see the entire room in one frame, but they can also warp the perspective. Close objects seem bigger than they really are and points farther away from the lens are smaller. On a full-frame camera I try to use a 24mm or 45mm tilt-shift lens for most of my work. There are definitely occasions where using a wide-angle 16 or 17mm lens makes sense. Try composing the scene at 45mm or 24mm first and see if that works before going wide!
4. Two Wall Rule. Unless you are shooting a one-point perspective, your images will benefit from only showing two walls. The third wall is often distracting to the image because the furniture, art, or whatever else that is along that wall isn’t viewed from the right standpoint. This is a good rule to follow as it helps with finding really great angles of a room that highlight the space without going too wide (so it ties in nicely to point #3 above). You want your image to be a work of art so finding the right two wall composition will enhance the final image.
5. Style the Space. Interior architectural images, whether for architecture or interior design, are better if the space is styled. Learning where to place furniture can help to create depth in an otherwise static image. Decluttering is also key. No one wants the viewer to be distracted by too many books, flowers, picture frames, etc. So, whether you are shooting the living room of a small house or the lobby of a large hotel, don’t be afraid to rearrange the furniture, move items around, or remove them completely so that your photograph is clean and gives the viewer a sense of depth. If you are working with an interior designer, this could be more challenging. Explain, and show them with your tethered view, why an item needs to be moved. Making this a collaborative process will make the changes easier and improve the long-term relationship with your client.
Conclusion – There are lots of steps that must come together to create a stunning interior architectural image. Beginning with the basics such as scouting a space with the client, ensuring that your vertical lines are straight, and finding the right camera height will set yourself up for success. Adding in tips such as those mentioned above will assist in crafting amazing images that will lead to lasting relationships with your clients.