Interior Composition in Architecture Photography

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(Rewind) Taking eye-catching photographs of interiors is more difficult than simply pointing and shooting. To compose an effective image, it takes some forethought and careful consideration of your surroundings. To improve our understanding of photographic composition, professional photographer Scott Hargis provides this very helpful insider look into the art of interior photography:

Shooting as wide as your camera will allow is not always the best choice. Many times, photographs taken from wide angles will feel cluttered and may distort objects, distracting viewers from the photograph as a whole. To better showcase a large room, break it up by taking a couple photographs from different angles. When doing so, use an object that is common to both images to offer some fluidity and help viewers connect the two images.

When looking at a room to determine camera location, look for shapes and angles within the space that will be complimentary to each other. These can be anything from doorways, furniture, art, and even light fixtures. It’s okay to move such items around to give the room a better flow, but slightly moving your camera is usually enough to correct the balance.

When in doubt, get behind your camera and look through the viewfinder as you rotate the camera to experiment with multiple angles. Move from side to side a few inches and adjust the zoom until you find an aesthetically pleasing composition. Don’t place the camera so low the underside of tables show. On the same hand, you don’t want the camera so high that it appears you are looking down on to a flat surface either. You are essentially trying to create depth through camera placement. As a rule of thumb, avoid placing your camera too low or too high. Find a nice middle ground between eye and waist level.

Understanding the concept of the architectural term, one point perspective, and how to achieve it will greatly improve the quality of your interior photographs. In a nutshell, one point perspective means that when looking at a space straight on, you have placed your camera in a position in which all vertical lines are vertical and horizontal lines remain horizontal. To do this, your camera must be perfectly parallel to the wall it is pointing to. This technique can be tricky to accomplish, even the smallest mistake in camera placement will separate an excellent photo from an awful one.

The following summary will get you on the right track to taking powerful and visually appealing photographs. Remember,

  • You are essentially trying to portray a room’s character and feel through its design. Shots taken from wide angles generally achieve the opposite effect.
  • Look at the foreground and background objects as a whole. They camera needs to placed so that they work together to complement one another and are not competing for attention in the photograph.
  • Composing an image while looking through your camera is just as important as stepping away from the camera and studying the view from an outsider’s perspective. Make sure the shapes and angles of the room align to the common eye and not just the photographic eye.

Architectural interior photography can be very tricky. Developing an eye for the proper composition will take practice, but is not unobtainable.

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5 Comments

  1. SK says:

    Awesome video. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks for posting this interior video. Very nice – and I will incorporate these pointers into my next interior assignment.

    Jim

  3. John M says:

    Great video, very informative, and nicely done.

  4. TS says:

    Nice job – thinking about shooting our kitchen remodel, this gives me some great ideas. Especially liked the “one point” section.

  5. Maureen Lennon says:

    What type of flash are you using ?

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