Interior photography can be difficult, even at the best of times. The challenges you face trying to articulate a space through photography can range from making a tight space look roomy and larger than it is, to having something dated, look bright, open and modern, but that’s half of the fun!
If a space presents itself as a challenge, this should not intimidate or cause you to back down. Half of the work of a photographer is finding creative alternatives and solutions to the problems at hand. How do you take something that appears static, uninteresting and plain boring and breathe life into it?
As a photographer, your images should reflect your constant need to promote, advertise and accelerate yourself in an exciting and dynamic way. If you do not apply this need to create beautiful, individual pieces of art, your images will translate to the viewer as such. Having the drive and passion to be the very best always reflects itself in your images. In an industry where a photographer needs to constantly promote themselves, these ideologies should become somewhat of a mantra before going into a shoot. This can be applied to every area of photography. The ultimate goal is to have your image appear strong enough to stand alone, as a work of art, but also do the job it was intended, in this case: advertise a liveable, clean and welcome space to the viewer, whether it be for a hotel, a house on the market or commercial space.
Working on the 500px Studio team has provided me amazing insight for best practices when it comes to communicating how to approach different types of shoots. It has taught me just how many different ways an interior space can translate as an image, and I only have our amazing, enthusiastic and talented community of 500px Studio photographers to thank for this. Collaborating with so many different photographers at different levels of experience has provided our team with a simple and effective approach to interiors: approach every space as if you are telling its’ story. While this statement may seem slightly ambiguous, it is key to always have in the back of your mind.
Telling the story of a space and making it appear exciting, new and inviting to the viewer can feel like the ultimate challenge, however, it’s not. The first and most crucial step to this entire process is to walk around the space you are trying to capture. This is important because, as a photographer, you are a visual being. You see the world in a unique perspective and you need to take that ability and use it to analyze the task at hand. Walking around the space you are photographing gives you the opportunity to understand the space and how the light falls into the room. What shadows are cast when this happens, are there opportunities for better or more dynamic angles, how can you best represent the space in your image?
A number of photographers would then tell you to only photograph the space using a wide angle lens, and at the beginning of our Assignments journey, I would have likely told you the same thing. After working with so many different types of interior photographers, I no longer feel like this is absolutely necessary. I have seen interiors photographed with zoom lenses, portrait lenses as well as wide angle lenses and they can all look fantastic! Your goal should be to find the best angle and show how the important elements of the room tie together in a visually pleasing and dynamic way, all of which can be achieved through any lens type or combination of lenses. Think about how you can demonstrate the function, layout and beauty of the space all at the same time.
My next recommendation would be to focus on the composition of your images and how it applies to your story. The composition of the image can communicate so much in a single frame that it is essential to maintain. The rule of thirds is often a good trick to live by, creating images that are balanced and pleasing to the eye. This could contribute to your image appearing as something that could stand alone as a piece of art or something that can be used for more commercial purposes.
You should also take multiple angles and exposures of the space, to ensure you are effectively communicating all the information available. It is your job to experience the space and then relay that information to the viewer. As a viewer, when we see your images, we need to live through them. We want to experience the space through what you have provided.
To ensure you have covered all of your bases, three image types should be captured: an overview image, capturing as much information in a single frame as possible, an image focusing on a certain area of the space, perhaps a sitting area, a desk or unique feature, and finally, a detail shot, showcasing how the space has been accessorized. This should ensure a thorough and complete documentation of the space while telling a colourful and insightful story.
You are using your artistry and your eye to reflect this space in a pleasing way to the viewer; have you done the space justice? Have you done yourself, as an artist, justice? Above all else, you are an artist and a camera is your tool. My final piece of advice applies to exactly that. Be creative. Find ways to make the space interesting for you. Find themes across your images and apply them to how you are representing this space. Perhaps the space has interesting shadows that dance around the furniture, or maybe you are a photographer that loves using depth of field in their images, which can be applied when discussing the details that accessorize a space such as a faucet, lampshade or fabric details. These are all elements that people love to see when the story of an interior is being told. There is no limit to the different combinations that can be used to accurately reflect a space, and I encourage you to explore all of them!