Common mistakes while shooting interiors

So often, an amateur with a DSLR takes up the seemingly intuitive task of capturing the interiors of a house and ends up with a set of poorly composed, recklessly lit, and inappropriately exposed frames. The truth is – the job of an interior photographer is much more than ‘point and shoot’. In this post, we shall point out some of the most common mistakes you might make while shooting that apartment:

Over/Under Exposure

The light inside a house is always tricky and many times less than the daylight outside. Hence, exposing for your frame for the light coming in through your window/door will almost always result in the indoor details being underexposed. On the other hand, exposing for the interior will blow the window light out of proportion and you’ll be left with nasty highlight patches in the frame.

What to do: Turn on the lights in the room. Increase your shutter speed to a point that the daylight seeping in through the window is of the right brightness, and fill the room with an appropriate flash. Bouncing the flash light off the ceiling often works best.

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Chaotic Lines

Perspective is key to selling a room, and composition is key to a fetching perspective. Keeping the camera at an angle will almost always result in lines converging or a sea-sickness-inducing image.

What to do: No matter what height you’re shooting from, shoot straight.

For instance, out of the two pictures below, which one do you like better:

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Not Using A Tripod

This one is self-explanatory. Shooting hand-held is an exercise in complacence and murder of perspective. A tripod, besides keeping your lines from converging, will also lend a hand in low-light situations where a low shutter speed is the order of the day. It will also cut out camera shake caused by the slightest hand tremble and result in tack-sharp images.

What to do: Duh! Use one!

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Candid photography

This is not street photography. Nor is it pristine wildlife. That chair won’t eat you up if you nudge it out of the frame. That carpet won’t inject venom into your bloodstream if you dust it a bit before bringing it into focus. Perhaps the most overlooked part of interior photography is composing the frame- no, not in your viewfinder, but in the actual room.

What to do: Instead of zooming in and out, cropping out poking edges of a billowing curtain during post-processing, or blurring out reflections with Photoshop, you can move things around in the room to get the exact frame you’d like to present. It’s the simplest and easiest tweak to implement. The results: Neat and elegant-looking rooms.

Before:

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After:

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Ignoring the F value

The most important setting on the dial in interior photoshoots is the aperture value. While handling tricky light situations indoors, many photographs tend to get so caught up in shutter speed, flash compensation and ISO values, that the aperture takes a back seat. There aren’t too many sins worse than this one. Unfortunately, a minor lapse in focus will be noticed only when you’re back home, scrolling through a set that looks hideously undone by the wrong f values.

What to do: As explained in an earlier post (Camera calibration for interior photoshoot), the f value can be increased to get all elements in the frame in sharp focus. Alternatively, it can be dropped to get creative blurs when a certain object needs attention.

Small f-stop value:

Small f-stop value

High f-stop value:

Big f-stop value

Not hiring a professional

Your apartment can and will seriously undersell solely because of poor quality of pictures posted on the site. While the job looks ridiculously easy, it can be very easily messed up. Amateurs will end up getting unwanted reflections, poor compositions, and chaotic histograms (if you don’t know what that is, stop right now and hire a pro!) – basically saving a few bucks of yours, at the cost of a lot more that you could’ve got if the space would’ve been handled by a professional.

What to do if you’re not a pro: You see that ‘Contact Me’ option up there. Yeah, click it.