Whether you’re interested in lifestyle photography, real estate imagery, or something in between, knowing how to capture great photos of interiors is a skill all beginners should master. Here are 5 quick tips that’ll help up your interior photography game.
This tutorial was put together by Daniel and Rachel of Mango Street Lab, and like most “tips” videos, these are more like… guidelines. Depending on the mood you’re going for, the client brief, and your own stylistic preferences, you’ll want to adjust these tips accordingly. That said, these 5 guidelines offer a great place to start.
1. Shoot from waist level
Shooting from a standing position will have you looking down on most interior scenes, especially if you’re emphasizing furniture and decor. Shoot from waist level, and use a tripod to make sure you get rock-steady shots from the perfect perspective.
2. Choose your subject and compose accordingly
Many (if not most) interior shoots will feature decor over people, so pick a subject and then compose your shot accordingly. Don’t be afraid to move things around, remove distracting elements, and add (appropriate) touches like books, plants, and/or blankets.
3. Use a wide-angle lens for most shots, and a normal lens for details
This one depends a lot on the client brief or specific shot you’re taking, but most interior shots will be captured with a wide-angle lens (24mm equivalent-ish or wider). The exception is detail shots, which require a closer crop and will be better served by, say, a 50mm equivalent.
4. Use natural light, turn off interior lights, and use a reflector or LED panels for fill
The lighting tips in the video are more specific to Mango Street’s own style. They shoot natural light (usually during the brightest parts of the day) augmented by LED panels or some reflectors to fill in shadows. They also suggest you turn off all of the artificial lights to avoid white balance issues, unless, of course, you need to show off those lighting fixtures.
5. Shoot with a smaller (f/5.6-f/11) aperture to keep everything in focus
Shooting wide open and getting that bokehlicious look is all good and well, but if your goal is to show off a whole room, you’ll want to keep the whole room in focus. Stop down unless you’re shooting detail shots where you want to isolate a smaller subject.
And that’s it. The tips aren’t ground-breaking, but they’ll definitely keep beginners from making some common mistakes, and they can help make interior snapshots look a lot more polished. Check out the video up top to elaborate on each tip, and then head over to the Mango Street Lab YouTube channel for more tutorials and tips videos like this one.