10 Interior Photography Tips from the Professionals

"Our real journey in life is interior." - quote from Thomas Merton

With the rise in interior design websites and blogs, the need for excellent interior photography is at an all time high.

As well as eye-catching initial designs, architecture firms, real estate agents, restaurants, cafes and hotels must get their interior photography right or risk being lost in the crowd.

Well, who better to instruct them than the professionals themselves, right?

To help you stay ahead of the curve, here are our top 10 interior photography tips from the experts…

1. Go and stand in the corner…

shot of cinema interior
Interior photographer Vaibhav Kapadi maximised the space in this image of the Maxus Multiplex in Mumbai by shooting from the corner

But don’t face the wall.

Squashing yourself as tightly into the corner as you can go will give you the widest perspective of the interior before you, allowing you to capture more of what makes it special.

Try all of the corners of every space to see what the perspective from each of them is like.

Some interior design photographers press their camera against the wall to get as wide an angle as possible.

2. Find the right light

Interior photography lighting is so important that it’s almost a specialism in itself. You need to balance the lighting so there are no overly dark shadows or overly bright highlights.

Use the light that is available to you in the room – lamps, overhead lighting, fireplaces, and natural light from windows.

Play around with different combinations of lights to try to achieve the best for every space.

As a general rule, you are looking for soft lighting, so try shooting with natural light from the windows during the photography ‘golden hours’ – early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

3. Organise the space prior to the shoot

Don’t just start shooting the interior at random – think about the image you want to capture before taking the photographs.

Add features to a room to create a certain atmosphere, if you think the scene on its own is dull.

Some carefully placed cushions or a stack of newspapers can give your interior photography some much needed character.

Walk around the space and get a feel for it before implementing the interior photography tips in this article.

PRO TIP – LINA SKUKAUSKE

Interior design photography
Add details to give character and focus, as in this shot from interior photographer Lina Skukauske

“When starting on an interior photography project, you first need to think through what is the end goal of it?

Each client and each image have different requirements and things to consider.

How will those shots be used? Do you need to leave some space for graphic designers to put copy? How much creative freedom will you have?

For example, if you’re shooting for an interior designer’s portfolio, you will have to discuss what it is that the designer wants to show – is it the elements that were used to decorate? The lighting that creates specific atmosphere?

Remember in cases like this that it’s their work and they have their needs that you have to fulfill.

As another example, when shooting a restaurant, you usually aim to capture the atmosphere and include details and people in the shots.

It’s interior photography, but it’s not so much about interior, it’s more about the atmosphere and feeling of the place; you want to make the restaurant’s (future) customers want to be here.

In this case, focusing on the senses can be a good approach – you probably don’t want to shoot the restaurant looking cold and empty.

In any case, focus on the goal and be sure about it before you go to the shoot.

Whenever appropriate, try to tell a story through your images, focus on interesting details that make this place special, use people as models to set the mood and atmosphere, and think through your styling – even the smallest details matter!”

4. Equip yourself for success

Dark by Olafs Barons
Interior image from ‘Dark’ by Olafs Barons

When photographing interiors, a wide angle is a good starting point.

You should purchase a purpose built wide angle lens for the best results. A 16mm to 24mm lens will allow you to get a great perspective from the corners of the space.

Always take a standard lens along too for the close ups of details you might want to capture to support the wide angles.

Depending on the space, you may even want to take a macro lens to capture fine details, for example in a five star hotel or a quirky retreat.

Of course, this is in addition to the basic kit you should always pack when out on a shoot.

5. Straighten yourself out

Ensure that all the vertical lines in your interior image are going straight up and down and not converging at the top and bottom.

Use a tripod with a spirit level to ensure the lines of the features – bookcases, doors, windows, tables, etc. – are all parallel within the frame.

If the lens is tilted slightly up or down the lines will be going diagonally, providing an unwanted distraction to the viewer and detracting from the impact of the interior.

The interior will appear to be falling away or tipping towards the viewer.

PRO TIP – OSKAR FIREK

Oskar firek interior photography
Interior photography by Oskar Firek

“In my opinion, the most important thing is vertical correction. Every view of an interior should be 90 degrees to the wall.

Take care of the balance between the left and right hand side (in composition) and make sure that the floor and ceiling are shown in the right proportions.”

6. Don’t trust your hands

All professional interior photographers know that nobody has a hand that’s as steady as a sturdy tripod.

If you want a crisp, clear and professional looking photograph of your interior, make sure you use a tripod.

A blurred image will not only make the photographer look like an amateur but the interior designer will suffer from your mistake as well.

7. Use your aperture

Depth of field is an important tool in the interior photographer’s arsenal.

If there is some unwanted detail in the background of the shot, you could always blur it out with a smaller f-stop.

Alternatively, if you’re shooting a grand space you might want a smaller aperture (bigger f-stop) to make sure the entirety of the scene is in sharp focus.

PRO TIP – OLAFS BARONS

3D rendering of an interior
Interior image by Olafs Barons featuring clever use of depth of field

“I’ve never studied photography, I’m just an architect and mostly use my sense of composition, trying to keep it as clear and readable as possible; mostly using lowered camera settings to reduce the perspective.

I also pay close attention to the depth of composition to make some foreground and background.”

8. Shoot from on high

To add a sense of grandeur, try shooting a wide angle from high up in the corner while keeping the camera straight.

Look for a good vantage point up a staircase, or bring along a step ladder to help you reach those dizzy heights.

Make sure you don’t end up cutting out half of the frame, however.

9. Don’t be afraid to use post-production

Post-production is a huge asset to interior photography.

It’s very rare that an  interior design image comes out exactly as you want it to look, with the difficulties of shooting in a confined space with awkward lighting.

Try to make sure you get the composition correct first time round to prevent the excessive need for vertical correction, and keep post-production to a minimum – contrast, highlights and shadows, and cropping.

PRO TIP – MACIEK JEZYK

“Most of the time, one image is enough to work with in post-production, but when you are photographing a difficult situation, where there’s gonna be lots of dark and very bright places, it would be advisable to use a blending tool.

This can be done manually or with a program called LR/Enfuse.

This option does not interfere with colours, like HDR for example, so it’s good to use in some situations, but to use that you need to first look at tons of great images so that your brain can get used to natural looking interior shoots before you do any post-production.”

10. Get creative

Interior photography is seeing a resurgence in creativity that comes with its growing popularity.

Use these interior photography tips as a basis for your images, but feel free to judge the scene before you with your artistic eye.

Experiment with different angles, apertures and lighting to see what you can come up with.

PRO TIP – VAIBHAV KAPADI

maxus cinema mumbai photograph
Vaibhav Kapadi captures the detail of the impressive ceiling in the Maxus Multiplex in Mumbai
“The following are a few of my tips for interior photography:
  • Point of view: Selecting the best point of view is very important. The place from where the image is captured enables the viewer to see all the boundaries of the internal structure.
  • Camera height: Usually the camera is placed at eye level to get a more natural feeling of the view.
  • Verticals & horizontals: Make sure the vertical lines in the picture look exactly vertical and horizontal lines in the picture look exactly horizontal. The reason being that the human eye never sees tilted verticals or horizontals.
  • Depth: Use appropriate foreground elements to create the sense of depth. Foreground elements should be very much in focus.
  • Props: Adding appropriate props can make the picture look more interesting. For example, a flowerpot on the table, as it will reduce emptiness and will also add some wonderful colours to the picture.
  • Visual overlaps: Try to avoid visual overlaps in the picture. Less visual overlaps = a neat and clean picture. You can move the furniture/props (with permission) to avoid visual overlaps.”

More Help

If you’re in search of further instruction, we might have just the thing:

blog_banners_Photography eBookOur Beginner’s Guide to Professional Photography is aimed at helping digital photographers improve their craft.

You can download it completely free to refine your skills and unravel some of the mysteries associated with manual camera settings.

New to interior photography? Were these professional tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

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35 thoughts on “10 Interior Photography Tips from the Professionals

  1. hi
    i am vishal and i am an interior photographer .I wanted to know on what basis the images are selected for the article and is it possible to review my images and select it for any blogs in the future if its good enough ?

    1. Hi Vishal, I found the featured photographers and designers after discovering their impressive portfolios online, all of which are linked to within the article. They all had a strong online presence as well as great work. I would highly recommend utilising sites such as Behance, as well as a personal websites and social media, to showcase and promote your work. This article we previously wrote about promoting yourself online might be of interest to you – http://www.idesigni.co.uk/blog/promote-online/. Also, please feel free to get in touch if you have an idea for a specific article. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi there, SM! We will get in touch with the person who took the image, so that he can give you his advice on that. Thanks for the interest! We appreciate it!

    2. Hello again, SM! The author of the first image – Olafs Barons, has said the following regarding your question: “The image is rendered in png format, with white-transparent background, so the light reflection on the floor is white. The forest in the background is just a picture. In real life light would be different.” We hope this helps! Thanks again for your interest in our article!

  2. Thank you guys so much. Though i don’t have a lot of equipment may be only the 18-55 as opposed to 16-24 and the tip on using natural light was what i needed because i might not manage to hire lights because of the budget issues.

  3. Thanks for sharing these great tips. I am a photographer and I’ve been wanting to take cool photos of interiors, e.g. hotel rooms, offices. I also recommend having a Mini Fridge in bed room for cold drink or snacks chilling purposes.

  4. I am going to photograph a client’s Pilates studio tomorrow. I was a photographer, but got rid of my lights, umbrellas, etc. years ago. So now I’m relying on lighting inside (different colors) and natural northern light (cool color). Hoping I can get that all balanced out. I LOVE the ideas about the corners; both eye-level and on ladder with camera straight. Even a boring space will look exciting!

    1. Good luck with the photo-shoot, really glad you enjoyed the article. We are going to publishing a similar one quite soon. Let us know how you get on.

    1. Hi Cassandra, thank you for reading our blog and for commenting.Traditionally, interior and architectural photographers have used medium format and large format cameras to ensure the very highest quality possible for print output. At the higher end of the profession – for example in advertising, it is still the case that specialist medium and large format cameras are used, usually with specialist digital backs. The advantage of this kind of camera is the very high quality possible, and in large format cameras, the ability to adjust perspective and converging verticals in camera.

      However today, a great deal of very successful professional interior and architectural photography, particularly for online and web outputs uses DSLRs and professional mirrorless cameras. The more professional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are now approaching or equalling medium format quality and suitable for high quality print as well as online results.

      You should get great results even with an entry level DSLR if you work carefully. Working with a smaller camera you may sometimes need to adjust converging verticals, but this can be done quickly and easily using digital tools in post-production.

      As with many kinds of photography, it’s not only the camera that determines the quality output but the way you use it creatively that matters the most. i hope this helps you! – Dominique IDI

  5. Hi Admin,

    Just seen your blog, it has very useful content. Interior design is the total creative solution for a well-designed interior. It encompasses the conceptual planning aesthetic and technical solutions for a great result. Thank you for sharing this useful information.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Kuvio Studio

  6. Hi I’m at interior photographer.. I have always had something for photography. I took so many courses but I really found my self in interior photography. It combines 2 things that I love. Please follow me on Instagram and let me know what you think of my work. I started a year ago. It’s dinasamahy and my logo is lady bird. Thanks

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