Photographing Luxury Property – part 2 – Interiors.
There is no escaping the fact that taking photos inside a house is more challenging than taking photos outside the house, unless it is raining, of course. Often the interiors are dark and dingy and the more challenging the conditions the more skill and equipment you need. I like to start from the outside and enter via a window or the front door.
If all the rooms are bright and spacious you can use a good quality cell phone camera and with practice, you can get reasonable photos – good enough for Facebook but not necessarily good enough for a website. Remember to check the photo settings on your camera – you must set your phone to take the biggest photos with the biggest file size. People are forever sending me tiny files and these can’t be ‘blown up’ or ‘stretched’ to fit a website or even Facebook. A file that is too large can always be reduced but if the file is too small then nothing can be done and the results will be a disaster.
Ideally, you need a DSLR – the entry level Canons, Nikons, and Sony offerings are affordable and will give you better than cell phone quality photos providing you know how to use them. The important thing is you need at least two different lenses – one for outside and one for inside. Why is this? Well, inside things get smaller so you need a wide angle lens. On this photo shoot, I had to make do with the same lens and it is not ideal for interiors.
A professional will use special (expensive) perspective correction lenses and/or very wide angle lenses to get the whole room in the frame and even then a pro might need to use Photoshop to remove the unwanted ‘barralling’ effect where the vertical lines seem to converge.
The photo on the left was either taken with a special perspective correction lens or the vertical perpendicular lines were corrected using a photo editor suite like Photoshop. The photo on the right shows the uncorrected problem and it looks very unnatural indeed.
I used a Nikon D7000 which is above entry level but it is not a professional camera although it is very popular with real estate professionals and I used an 18-105mm lens which is fine for outside but inside a 10-24mm lens would have been better.
Not having the ideal lens meant I had to experiment much more than I would usually. You have to move around and chose which vertical you want to emphasize.
If you use a DSLR it is not ideal to use the camera’s flash – you should always try to use a separate flash mounted on top of the camera. You can also use some inexpensive LED lights to get rid of the shadows in a room and you can make your own reflector using silver foil on a large piece of polystyrene – easy to carry and great for reflecting some light where it is needed.
Finally, you don’t always need a tripod, experiment with step ladders or chairs. Try not to take all your photos at head height – experiment – stand on a chair in the corner of a room for example.
I like to start from the outside and work my way inside the house via a window or the front door – think about giving the viewer a tour – ask yourself what are the best features here and, as in the first part of this article, don’t forget to set the scene, lay the tables, use flowers, make sure the windows are letting in the maximum amount of light if the room is dull or partly pull the curtains or blinds if the room is too bright. I like to turn all the lights and lamps on to give some atmosphere to interiors.
If you know you are going to take photos of a house then send a list of things the owners can do to help you – make sure the house is tidy and well presented to its best advantage. You should do all this because 90% of your competitors won’t even think about it.
For part one of this article click here – Part One