Improve Your Architectural and Interior Photography with These Top 5 Pro Tips

If you’re an aspiring architectural and interior photographer this one’s for you. Have you ever found yourself frustrated with spending hours on-site photographing commercial or residential spaces, then staying up until 2 am in the editing dungeon, only to get lackluster results? Trust me, I’ve been there.

It took me years of trial and error to learn how to photograph architecture and interiors. You would think photographing a building that doesn’t move would be easy, but there are so many nuances involved in creating a natural, editorial final image. Here are my top 5 pro tips to improve your A&D photos.

A collage of three modern kitchen and dining areas, featuring large windows with views of a lake and mountains. The spaces include sleek wooden cabinets, marble countertops, high-end appliances, and a mix of bar stools and dining chairs for seating.

Full disclosure: This article is brought to you by Academy of Visuals.

Tip #1: Embrace the Shadows

Shadows are what give an image depth, texture, and atmosphere. When you attempt to remove shadows completely, you lose dimension, highlight textures, and mood resulting in a flat and unrealistic image. Shadows contribute to a natural, realistic feel. By balancing highlights and shadows accurately you will create much more visually pleasing images.

A modern home office with large windows featuring outdoor views, navy blue built-in shelving, a wooden desk with a black chair, a beige armchair with a matching ottoman, a beige sofa, and a light-colored rug. The room has wood flooring and a ceiling fan.
Example with shadows flattened
A modern home office with large windows showing a scenic outdoor view. The room has navy blue built-in shelves, a wooden desk, a black office chair, a beige armchair and ottoman, a light gray sofa, and a ceiling fan. Decor includes books, art, and decorative items.
Example embracing the shadows

Tip #2: Position Yourself Further Away From Furniture

Positioning your camera too close to furniture can distort perspectives, limit composition options, and compromise the overall representation of the space. Maintaining a suitable distance away from furniture ensures a more accurate, balanced, and appealing portrayal of the interior. Nobody wants to look at an image with a warped table in the foreground. Give yourself enough space so that the furniture doesn’t have any distortion from wide-angle lenses. Which leads to my next tip.

A modern dining area with a round table set for six, featuring white dishes, blue placemats, and a gold chandelier with white globe lights. A potted plant stands in the corner, and large windows showcase a view of trees and a wooden house outside.
Example of too close to furniture
A modern dining area with a round table set for six, featuring white plates, bowls, and cutlery. The room has wooden walls and floor, large glass doors opening to a patio, a potted plant near the window, and a contemporary chandelier above the table.
Example standing further away from furniture

Tip #3: Avoid Shooting With Super Wide Focal Lengths

While real estate photographers often use wide-angle shots to make the space look larger, shooting excessively wide can lead to distorted proportions, exaggerated spaces, and unintended inclusions of unwanted elements. Photographers looking to work in the Architectural and Interior Design space need to rethink composition. Instead of using super wide focal lengths like 12-16mm try using 24mm-50mm focal lengths to compress the background. Focus on highlighting architectural details and vignettes of design elements instead of shooting the entire space.

A modern kitchen with light wooden cabinets, white marble countertops, and stainless steel appliances, including a large oven and gas stove. Pendant lights hang from the ceiling. The kitchen leads to a dining area with a wooden wall and a window.
Example with 17mm
Modern kitchen with light wooden cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and a large island with a black faucet. The space features open shelving with kitchen essentials, a window with a view of greenery, and pendant lights hanging over the island.
Example with 24mm

Tip #4: Don’t Over-saturate Your Colors

Over-saturating your colors, especially blue and yellow tones leads to an unnatural appearance, an overall inaccurate representation of colors, and distracts away from interior design elements. Striking a balance in color adjustments is essential to maintain accuracy, which is crucial in architectural and interior photography.

A modern building with wooden and glass exterior set amidst a backdrop of trees and blue sky. The structure has angled roofs and large windows, allowing natural light to enter. The landscape around features small trees and maintained vegetation.
Example Oversaturated Real Estate Edit
Modern building with large glass windows and wooden exterior set against a backdrop of pine trees and a clear blue sky. The structure features angular rooflines and is surrounded by landscaped areas with small trees and mulch.
Architectural Edit with more natural colors

Tip #5: Easy on the Clarity and Sharpening Sliders

Maxing out the clarity and sharpening sliders while editing architectural and interior photos can lead to a cartoonish or artificial appearance. The clarity slider creates noise or graininess, introduces moire, and makes highlights that look muddy. The worst offender of all is the unpleasant halos caused by the overuse of these tools. A nuanced approach is essential to maintain the image’s natural look and professional quality.

A cozy living room with a high, wooden vaulted ceiling, featuring a central fireplace. The room is furnished with white armchairs and a sofa, arranged around a glass coffee table. Potted plants and a large abstract painting complement the minimalist decor.
Example with too much clarity and sharpening
A cozy living room with a high, wooden, vaulted ceiling and a large skylight. The room features a modern fireplace, neutral-toned furniture, including armchairs and a sofa, a glass coffee table, and a minimalist painting on the wooden paneled wall.
Edit with the correct amount of clarity and sharpening

Bonus Tip: Verticals MUST BE STRAIGHT

When I look at interior and architectural images from photographers new to this industry the biggest tell-tale sign that they are not experienced is when I see keystoning meaning their verticals are converging at the top or bottom. Making sure your verticals are perfectly straight is an absolute must with Architectural and Interior photography. The only exception would be 3 point perspectives looking down onto a staircase or over a railing into a space below.

A modern building with large glass windows and a multi-story structure is surrounded by young trees and landscaped grounds. Adjacent to it, there's a large hotel building with a visible illuminated sign displaying colorful advertisements. The sky is clear at dusk.
Example of keystoning
A modern building complex featuring a multi-story glass structure with an outdoor seating area, surrounded by landscaped greenery. In the background, there is a large hotel with a red sign and a prominent digital billboard advertising a casino.
Same image with verticals straight

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to learn my entire workflow for framing, lighting, and editing Architecture and Interior photography check out my new course Academy Of Visuals – Mastering Architectural & Interiors Photography.

About the Author

Brad Scott is a distinguished name in architectural and interior photography and video production in the Reno | Tahoe area and the founder of Academy Of Visuals.

With over 10 years of specializing in capturing the essence of residential and commercial spaces, Brad brings a seasoned eye for detail and a commitment to delivering compelling visual narratives. With a total of 15+ years in photography and video, his expertise extends beyond architecture, ensuring clients receive versatile and impactful content. See more examples of Brad’s Architectural & Interior Photography

About the Course

Academy Of Visuals – Mastering Architectural & Interiors Photography

Our Architectural and interior design photography course already has over 45+ in-depth training videos live in the course, everything from camera gear, camera settings, lighting the scene with both natural ambient light as well as flash, composition, in the field job shadows one of a beautiful $28,000,000 property and an extensive editing module that covers everything you need to know to combine multiple ambient frames and flash frames into the final deliverable image.

There is also a private members area with over 220 students which is a great place to ask questions, post photos for critique before sending them off to a client, ask how you might bid on a job, etc.

The marketing and business modules include everything about how I find clients through outreach and inbound marketing through various sources as well as in-depth training about licensing images you have already captured to make additional income, how to price your services, and write bids ( I have a Bid template for your guys to use) how to do split share licensing for instances when multiple parties are interested in using the photos as well as how to talk about copyright with your clients.

A collection of training materials titled "Mastering Architectural & Interiors Photography" by Architecture of Visuals includes separate modules on marketing, business, presets, camera settings, composition, lighting, editing, job shadows, and interiors presets.

Total Value – $2377

Summer Sale – One time payment of $497


Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by Academy of Visuals.