5 Interior Photography Tips and Techniques

Taking attractive photos of interior spaces can be challenging, but it’s a skill that any photographer can develop. Struggling with challenging lighting, dealing with a rapidly changing landscape, and unknowing subjects are part of the fun and difficulty of interior photography. Here are five tips to get started with interiors, all of which you can try with minimal gear.

interior photography tips

“Spiral Staircase” captured by Richard Crowe (Click Image to See More From Richard Crowe)

1. Include People

Sure, there are some interiors that are going to look best when empty. But one of the most interesting parts of interior photography is seeing how people interact with their environment. This can help you a lot, especially when you’re trying to shoot at odd angles or show scale, like having a person stand next to the Lincoln Memorial to show the massive size of the monument. Often times, taking pictures of groups or individuals in your interior can make for a more powerful image than one shot without people.

2. Assume There Will Be Low Light

One of the frequent problems with interior photography is working with low light. Any time you’re inside shooting interiors, low light is going to be a problem. You can minimize this problem by working with a tripod.

The added stability of the tripod will allow you to take photographs at much lower shutter speeds without risking the blur caused by the natural movement of your body as you press the shutter button. Additionally, pack a filter or adjust your white balance to help avoid the nasty hue of fluorescent lights.

low light interior photo

Photo captured by Tomas Eriksson (Click Image to See More From Tomas Eriksson)

3. Check Out Your Surroundings

We spend a lot of time looking forward. When we’re trying to get from one place to the other, we don’t usually have time to observe our surroundings. Make sure to examine everything in your entire environment since you can take the extra time to look around as the photographer. In the world of interior photography, there are countless beautiful images of floors, ceilings, obscure wall details, and plenty of other things that the photographer would have never noticed had they kept their eyes on the horizon. Every interior has its beauty, but it’s up to you to discover it.

4. Tell a Story

Photographs of walls and ceilings can certainly be pretty, but as a photographer it’s your job to tell a story with every shot. Use people, construction, graffiti, building degradation, signage, or anything else you can find to make your photograph tell the story of that moment. Even when it comes to interior photography, there should always be a purpose for taking the photograph. Although you may just take a picture because “it looked nice,” try to challenge yourself to take pictures that look beyond the surface and represent common connections.

interior photography

“Creativity II: the lobby” captured by Mario Vargas

5. Change Perspective

What would be more visually interesting: a photograph of a spiral staircase, or a shot from the top of that staircase showing its long wind to the lower floors of a building? Whenever possible, force yourself to come up with new and interesting ways to capture an object. Much like human subjects, architecture can be made to look beautiful, ugly, or anywhere in between simply by finding a different angle or cropping out certain elements.

how to do interior photography

“Interior of a Chapel” captured by Joey (Click Image to See More From Joey)

Interior photography is certainly a challenge, but without the necessity of a willing subject you may find that learning through trial and error is a little more fun. Take some time to shoot some of your favorite interiors and look for new ways to capture them. Just make sure that you have permission from the building owner—there are many interiors that are quite unfriendly to photographers. Most people however are happy to invite photographers to shoot as long as they come with minimal gear.

About the Author:
Autumn Lockwood is a writer for Your Picture Frames (www.yourpictureframes.com) and loves taking pictures. Your Picture Frames makes it easy for you to find just the perfect frame for your photo or artwork.

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4 responses to “5 Interior Photography Tips and Techniques”

  1. Dan says:

    Are these photos supposed be good examples of interior photography? In my opinion, they look awful. A fine example of the horrible effects of HDR photography.

    • Rick says:

      I agree with Dan… I would expect those images in a “Do not overcook your HDR” note instead of this.
      Still, they are their authors’ vision and they liked them enough to publish them…

  2. Auto Motvie says:

    Hold on gentlemen. I use HDR frequently to get my friends and family (never use cameras but their phones) to look at my beautiful color saturated Canon Pro 100 prints and say “how did you ever get the colors like that?” or “you can be a professional photographer” or ” what camera did that image?” The wow factor in HDR magic is for the smartphone camera crowd and I really don’t publish those images because of that above. Now you can LOL at my friends and family and all those idiots that use smartphones for future treasures.

  3. jeff says:

    I agree the HDR ruins the pain the Interior Designer went through matching colors, textures and lighting design to create a unique essence. That said I like the idea of striving to find new angles and being creative with the compositions.

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