Tips to Create Magazine-Worthy Interior Photography
The gorgeous interior photography shots you see in magazines may seem impossible to achieve as a photographer, but they’re not!
Let’s dive in and walk through these twelve tips. You’ll start creating magazine-worthy interior photography in no time!
Focus on the Details
Have you ever photographed for real estate listings? Then you may have gotten a taste of what interior shooting photography is like. But architectural or interior photography is different than real estate photography.
You need to put more time into each part of the process, including post-production. The expectations are also higher when working with interior designers or builders.
Interior photography shoots are very collaborative and detail-oriented. You need to spend enough time with meeting the client, styling and with editing too. This great attention to detail allows it to demand higher rates.
The end goal is always to produce eye-catching interior photographs. These have to look great in magazines.
Turn off the Lights
Lighting can depend on personal preference. But there is a general consensus for high-end interior photography. Keep the lights turned off for all photos of the interior of a house. This helps to create a natural feel and an even light temperature, meaning better photos.
Having interior lights on also creates all sorts of shadows. These will appear on walls, floors, and furniture. It’s distracting and takes away from the actual interior design elements.
Is there a lighting feature that you want to show in photos, such as recessed lighting? That’s the only time that you’ll want to consider having lights on for interior design photography. In this case, make sure you bracket at least a second exposure that’s a bit darker. Like that, you can soften the brightness of the light and keep the lighting looking even.
Also, you might choose to have some lights on for any design features. Be sure to fine-tune white balance in editing.
A great additional tool to use for this is the local adjustment brush or gradient filter. This will help you counter balance the light temperature from the fixture. This is one of the essential interior photography tips we can offer.
Work With Layers
You’ll want to do several bracketed shots at varying exposures. This way, you can layer them for a subtle natural-feeling HDR final image when photo editing.
You’ll want to bracket 3-4 exposures for any shots that include windows. This gives you darker frames that you can use for showing the view outside the windows. And middle exposures that help to balance out the bright highlights.
I also like to get a shot that is over-exposed enough to have lively shadows. Then I use this frame to help brighten shadow areas that feel too dark.
Use large soft brushes when blending layers to maintain the natural feel. Interior photographs need your full attention throughout the entire process. You’ll want to avoid too much automation so that you can maintain quality control for your clients.
The editing process is often a bit tedious. There’s no automation, and it involves great attention to detail.
If you see enough growth, consider outsourcing the editing of your interior shots. Then you can focus on client relations and improving your photography skills with actual interior shoots.
For many, though, the editing remains in-house, and we handle it ourselves. There are lots of options for automating HDR. But the automated methods are often sub-par for interior design photography. Automated processes for HDR often don’t result in a natural and high-end look. And this is what architectural photography clients expect for their investment.
When doing the manual layering, you’ll most likely be working. But there are other options out there such as Capture One.