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4 Challenge in Interior Design Photography

Updated on July 17, 2013
Lighting is very important - try to take pictures during daytime.
Lighting is very important - try to take pictures during daytime. | Source

Interior design can be one of the most challenge subject in photo shooting. Helping the architects, interior designers or building owners tell the stories of their projects can be very difficult. On the one hand, the photographers need to show his or her skills by photo shooting the subject that he or she is good at. On the other hand, the photographers often only have limited time and materials which can help him or her to explore the subject. This hub is to explore the idea of what the photographers use for producing good interior design photos.

Challenge: Angle & Lighting

Taking pictures of the subjects in different angles can give us different feeling, and that can provide different information to us. Interior Design Photographers always need to find the perfect angle that can convey the information into the pictures. Beside the angle, the photographers also need to find a good lighting which can perfectly show the structure of the objects. While angle and lighting are two very important feature and challenge for many interior design photographers, it becomes an interesting area for the photographers to explore and study.

Angle and lighting techniques can be very subjective. Different photographers have different standard for "good angle and lighting". According to Angel, Hong Kong Interior Design Photographer, claims that there is no standard rule for taking good picture of an interior. However, taking pictures during daytime with great weather can make a real difference to the quality of the images. While doing restaurants and hotels pictures of an interior, Angel often needs to have artificial light because of the lack of natural lighting, unless that is a reception lobby with glasses windows where has enough natural lighting.

On the other hand, Angel claims that many photographers need to find a way to deal with lighting in limited time. They often have not enough time to set up and find the perfect natural lighting while it can involve accuracy, effect, maximum detail, white balance, etc. Each feature of lighting can have its challenges. Sometimes, the photographers can take a good picture of the interior in one location within 30 minutes, but they can spend 5 hours in other locations to take pictures of the interior.

Challenge: Focus and Exposure

Another challenge for interior design photographers is the focus and exposure. The exposure is very related to the amount of lighting available. While choosing an exposure, it is essential to make sure not over or under-exposing. While the photographers are not certain the exposure, take lots of photos as tests. This way can find out the perfect setting for the interior. Using a tripod can be useful as well. Taking a long exposure with a tripod can help the photographers figure out the perfect shooting.

However, when the pictures cannot be done well with different focus and exposures, it can mean that the photographers need to shot the picture of interior from a different angle. Sometimes the photographers need to do it many times until they get it right.

Interview with some photographers how to do interior photography

Even when you have to take a picture of a room with lots of white space, you can add some objects and create an interesting frame.
Even when you have to take a picture of a room with lots of white space, you can add some objects and create an interesting frame. | Source

Challenge: Staging

Interior design is not an indoor empty space. It always contains different level of stages, such as decorations, furniture, and interior structure. The compositions of each spot can affect the quality of the image. Interior design photographers should really look at the compositions of each spot, and see if the objects are good in the picture frame. Moving the small objects, such as putting plates on the table, moving the furniture,etc can also help organize and structure the frame.

Another way is to "trust your eyes". While the experienced photographers should have the eye which can handle complexity well, taking a photo of interior should be ambitious. On the one hand the photographer should try to tell as much of a story or detail as possible in one picture; on the other hand styling or staging should be consistent and simple - do not add too much objects in one frame. Otherwise, the viewer will get confused of space and miss the design.

Challenge: Framing and Compositions

The last challenge that I want to discuss is framing and composition. Wide frame and tight frame can work well for interiors. It is difficult to tell if the interiors are good for either wide frame or tight frame. One of the best way to get good framing and composition is through studying other photographs. For example, magazines and coffee table books often have good examples of pictures that the photographers can study. It can help the photographers recreate better pictures.

Another way to have perfect images is to take as many pictures as you can. Taking more pictures than you normally have with all sorts of angles, lighting, and frames can have lots of choices to select. It is the decision of the clients whether or not to include people or animals in their pictures. Remember, picture taking is creative, but your clients pay for you to do the job. You can provide some suggestion to them, but the final decision is always from your clients.

Example of how photographer prepares shooting

About me

Tony Young, Canadian living in Asia since 2010. I like writing articles from serious topic to creative writing. I like to tell you funny jokes and bring positive message to people. Topics of my writing are various. Most of them are related to humor, creative, and marketing.


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    • beaddve1800 profile image

      beaddve1800 4 years ago from Toronto

      Hello CraftytotheCore. Thanks for your comment. Indeed, lighting is very photographing. We can always go back to the location when there is not enough lighting. Photographer needs to be patient for good pictures :)

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Nicely written! Lighting is so important when photographing. I have a living room which gets light from a front window, but when it's rainy outside it's very hard to achieve good photographing success there. I tend to stay in my art studio where I have sky lights that light up the room no matter if it is rainy or sunny.