Photography is one of those fine art forms that people think is easy to do until they give it a try. If you have a home design blog or website, you know how difficult it can be to truly portray how gorgeous your new office is on a dinky digital camera with three flash settings.
In this blog, we will provide 6 tips on how to improve your architectural interior&exterior photography.
Tip 1. Add and Control The Light
When shooting exteriors, we recommend to do the session at dusk or dawn when the light is soft. It usually makes the photos more flattering, and it softens the exterior. No harsh light. Early evening or late afternoon is the perfect time.
As far as photography is concerned, waiting for the right light is a tried and true method to improving your images. But sometimes, we don't have a choice; sometimes scheduling doesn't work to our favor, or we've got a client that needs the images NOW, and we might not have the luxury of waiting a few hours for the perfect golden light.
There are a number of reasons why lighting a space will improve the look and feel of a photograph. When we don’t add our own light to a space, we are often at the mercy of the weather, poorly designed interior or exterior lighting, and a number of other factors that are out of our control.
When we control the light, we’re able to convey emotion and feel, add emphasis or interest to select areas in the photo, add life, bring out color and detail, improve contrast, and so much more.
At the first glance, the brain always overlook a room. It does not pay attention to the hidden mess, books on a coffee table in disarray, coffee cups or crumpled blankets. Once it comes to photograph the room, everything must be placed very deliberately else all these flaws will become more obvious.
Yes, things can be photoshopped, but it's a good practice to correct as much in person to save time.
Remove any elements from the scene that could be distracting is a start.
The room must be attractive: the owner or the real estate agent might have already staged the place before we arrive. At the end, the picture we are trying to take is the one what the owner wants to portray. Don't hesitate to move furniture or rearrange the room to take better advantage of placement and lighting.
In the below image, could you find elements that have been moved around? Look at how the pillows lay on the couch. Pillows tend to look sad and dejected in a photograph if you don’t take a minute to fluff them up, uneven blankets on beds will photograph terribly, crooked carpets can ruin the perfect composition. We achieved this shot with 2 simple exposure. This is an hotel lobby and it was necessary to show the view from the windows. So we exposed properly the windows and blended them in post processing. We added some spot lights in the background elements using the Flash technique explained above.
In the below kitchen image, we removed few elements that causes the scene too be to clutter. We rearranged few things on the counter such as adding a little plant. You don't want the area too look too messy. By adding element and create spaces between objects makes the mood of the kitchen much better. Exposure and lighting are more well balanced.
Choosing the correct exposure to avoid overexposing or underexposing a photo. We usually take as many shots of the scene in order to capture the full dynamic range. No clipping shadows or highlights such as not having the windows completely blown out.
Shooting with great piece of equipment is mandatory. If you want to emphasize depth of field, use a tripod and set the lens somewhere in the middle — around 11. That's ideal. We found with 16-35mn lens, the sharpness is at its best.
Tip 4. Framing and Composition
When shooting an interior, we prefer to use as much as possible of natural light first. We start with an ambient shot with the correct exposure. it necessary, we add lights one by one to make the scene popups, using either small flash units or large strobes.
We do add post processing lights keeping in mind to preserve the natural-looking lighting, and we want people to know it's there, but we don't want them to be able to figure out how we did it.
In the below photo, our photographer is flashing the scene here and there to make some areas to popup. In Post-processing, we blend the shots together.
Shooting lower to the ground is a good practice, such as about the height of light switches in a room. Shooting too high makes the furniture look distorted.
With a lower camera angle, it allows the images to feel more intimate to the objects in the room. Trying to frame the shot with an element in the space will make the viewer feels more like they are already in the shot.
Both wide frames and tight frames work well for interiors. But keep things straight up and down — move the whole camera higher or lower to get what you want in the frame. In order to get an interesting shot, just think if you would want to walk into the space. Interesting shot is the one that you draw in it.
We usually take a wide selection of shots and we experiment different sorts of angles and frames.
Shall we include people or animals in the shot? it is mainly the decision of the client. If you decide to include them, keep in mind to not shoot them straight on. It is better to get a side or profile view. If there is not people included, it's always nice to create the illusion that the space is lived in. You can a glass of water, or plant in the scene.
Before you start snapping your business’s space, take a second and decide what impression you’d like to give your viewers. Do you want to give them a warm welcome by shooting your home entrance? Or maybe your impressive space calls for a panoramic point of view? Once you’ve decided out what impression you’re looking to make, you’ll have an easier time deciding where to physically place your camera in order to achieve your goal.
The below image is the backyard view from the above home. We started shooting at dusk. Unfortunately, the place has not spot lights. How could we improve this by adding a little of warm welcome. A difference that we make the viewer feels to stay and seat in the depicted chairs. We simply again popped the flash here and there. Blending shots was done in post-production.
Photographing architecture, interiors, or anything that doesn’t move for that matter is an exercise in patience.
1) Wait for the right light. Since we’re shooting stationary objects, wait until the scene is bathed with golden light can do wonders for your photos. If you are using supplemental lighting, having the best possible natural light combined with well-placed artificial strobe light can create amazingly dynamic images that simply aren't possible otherwise.
2) Wait for eople, cars, and other objects to get out of the way. Waiting just five minutes for the area to be clear of people or cars can go a long way to ensuring that the viewer’s eye stays on the subject and doesn’t wander or get distracted by elements that aren’t adding anything to the final photo.
3) Be patient and double checking everything. Taking a minute to clean these up: