In my recent post All in a Weeks Work, I mentioned embarking on an interior photography project for a hotel in Chicago. The hotel is still in the beginning stages of being decorated, but images were immediately needed for the design of a website that will go live as soon as the hotel opens. This meant that I needed to conduct shootouts of local setups in various sections of the hotel. Efforts such as setting up dozens of tables in the ballroom and preparing multiple tables of elegant place settings in the Café seemed an awful lot of work for just a few pictures, but in the end, it was well worth it. You can now view samples of the images on the website of the interior decorator that I teamed up with to complete the project. Looking forward to seeing them on the actual hotel website soon!
With this being the first project of it’s type that I’ve done on this magnitude, I must admit there is more to it than I ever expected! Here are a few key principles about interior photography that I learned from the project:
1. Take time to prepare.
I didn’t realize there was so much to prepare until I got started. What exact locations will I shoot? How should the furniture be set up in those rooms? How should the location be decorated? Once these things are determined, they have to be carried out.
2. Determine the best angles at which you should shoot.
This is part of the preparation stage too. It can determine how various things are arranged.
3. Pre-shoot each location.
This is also part of preparation, but pre-shooting each location will help you determine correct exposure and white balance. Download these pictures onto your computer to make sure you have what you want.
4. Use whatever external lighting you can.
External flashes, strobes, whatever you can use to lighten up the location. It takes a lot of time, practice, and experimentation to get it right, especially if your interior is a large one.
5. Decorate the room to perfection.
I prefer to have someone else do this who knows what they are doing.
6. Include lamps and other light sources in actual image itself.
It brightens up the pictures, and makes interiors look lived in.
7. Watch out for reflections!
Change the position of either the camera or external lights.
8. Keep the camera level and not tilted up or down.
This keeps walls from bending and looking out of proportion
9. Keep tweaking the composition until it’s perfect.
By using a tripod, you can shoot a picture, make the needed adjustments, and then shoot the picture again without having to worry about getting the perfect angle again. You need to shoot with a tripod for interiors anyway.
10. Keep the bigger picture in mind.
Shoot according to the purpose of the pictures and the personal taste of the one you are shooting for.