How to: The correct lighting for home interior photography

If you want to photograph interiors it can be tricky to get a good quality shot mainly because the lighting can be difficult to predict. Of course if you are from an interior design magazine then you have the resources and time to set up all sorts of additional lighting. However, if you need an interior shot and you don’t have extra lights available (maybe for estate agents or just to show off your fab décor on your blog) then there are ways you can make sure you get a good picture. The Fortuny guide should get you started.

Choose the right time of day

One of your biggest problems with taking photos of interiors is the light from your windows so you want to ensure that you have the best possible natural light. So if you are shooting an interior the best time of day is the morning for east-facing rooms and west-facing rooms work best in the afternoon. North and south sides can be shot at any time of day so pick a time when the lighting is best. Another good tip is to shoot at dusk or dawn as that creates a softer look.

Think about lighting

Even during the day it makes sense to turn on the lights in your room if you are going to photograph it – standard bulbs will create a warmish glow which can look really nice in your photos. However, if you have fluorescent lights these are going to cause problems as they tend to cause a weird green glow.  Of course if the daylight is too bright drawing the curtains can solve the problem.  You are looking for even lighting so adding a light to dark areas and pulling the curtains if the window is too bright will help you achieve uniform lighting. However, make sure the look isn’t too heavy-handed as you want it to appear natural rather than looking like you used extra lighting so make sure the light is nicely dispersed.

Adjust the white balance

Most cameras are set by default to take photos outdoors. Therefore, it’s important to change some settings for interior shots. For a film camera you put on lens filters, such as a Tiffen FL-D filter, while for digital cameras adjusting the white balance should be a fairly simple task. Check the instructions for your model.

Forget the flash

If you are just taking pictures of interiors and there are no people in the shot then it is a good idea to turn off your flash. This is because the flash doesn’t distribute light evenly so for a great natural shot turn off the flash. However, you will need a longer exposure if you are turning the flash off so dig out that tripod to keep the image steady.

As long as you keep the lighting even and follow a few simple tricks there is no reason why your interior shots can’t look like they have come out of an interior design magazine. Just make sure you set up the shot well and think about the lighting and you shouldn’t go far wrong.