Beginners Guide

Comprehensive Guide to the Best Lighting for Interior Photography

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The Best Lighting for Interior Photography

There are only 2 options for lighting a photo: natural light and artificial light. The best lighting for interior photography is going to be a combination of both.

Only using natural light limits you because so many elements are out of your hand. Likewise, only using artificial light doesn’t allow for the natural and beautiful look that sunlight offers.

This article will outline why a combination of the 2, when done correctly, is almost always guaranteed to produce the best overall lighting for interior photography.

Table of Contents

Best Lighting for Interior Photography

Lighting Interior Photography with Natural Light

The best lighting for interior photography will always incorporate natural lighting. Capturing sun light streaming in from a window and lighting up portions of the photos is something that always looks good.

natural light interior

Using natural light also helps to show the space as it truly looks. Everyone searching for the perfect home wants to know how much natural light there is in a room, so it’s very important to show it.

In the example image used, the viewer immediately knows that there’s tons of natural light being let into the room without even needing to see a window. It makes for a beautiful photo even with so little being shown in the frame.

Using too much artificial light will distort how the room actually appears. You want to compliment the natural light, not over power it.

Lighting Interior Photography with Artificial Light

There are going to be many situations where artificial light is necessary to get a great looking photo. There may be very little, or even no natural light available. This happens often in basements, guest bedrooms, or attic type spaces.

Without artificial light, depth and detail won’t be able to be achieved in the photo. In this example photo, there are no windows in the frame and the kitchen is lit almost entirely by artificial light.

The detail and depth that we see in the cupboards wouldn’t be achievable if this photo used only natural light. The artificial light from the flash not only brightens up the whole kitchen, but it also helps to highlight the details in the wood.

If only natural light was used, this image would appear much flatter and we would lose lots of the depth which makes this photo really standout.

Check out this article featuring The Best Flashes for Real Estate Photography to see the best flashes currently on the market. Overall, when you consider all variables, we think the Godox AD200 Pro is the best option for artificial lighting.

Benefits of Lighting Interior Photography with Natural and Artificial Light Together

Using both natural and artificial light together will always produces the best results. The key is not letting one over power the other. If used and mixed properly, it will result in the best lighting for interior photography.

In this example, natural light is being let into the room from two windows and two skylights. The natural light in this room is obviously worth highlighting and only needs to be complimented by artificial light.

A flash was used to even out the lighting and brighten up some of the furniture close to the camera. If a flash wasn’t used, everything facing the camera would have come out very dark since the natural light is only coming from the back of the photo.

The outcome of using both natural light and artificial light is a perfectly lit photo that highlights all the best aspects of the room.

Best Lighting for Interior Photography: Using the Best of Both Options

As previously stated, the way to get the best results is to make sure that you are using artificial light to highlight the natural light. Let the natural light steal the show when it’s great, and use artificial light to fill in the gaps.

When there’s not a lot of natural light available, artificial light needs to play a bigger role. The key is to not let one overpower the other. The more you practice using both natural and artificial light, the better you’ll get at balancing the two.

Additional Resources

Our article Best Lighting for Real Estate Photography highlights the specific techniques that are used when using natural and artificial light for lighting interior photography.

Be sure to check out our Beginners Guide. It’s full of articles with helpful ideas and tips exactly like this one. Our Business Resources page has all the resources you’ll need to get your Real Estate Photography business started on the right path.

Finally, go check out our Gear page to get up-to-date reviews and recommendations on todays best gear for Real Estate Photography.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get the best lighting for indoor pictures?

Generally speaking, letting in as much natural light as possible and then filling in the dark areas with artificial light is the way to get the best lighting for interior photography.

What kind of lights do you need for indoor photography?

You don’t need any extra light for indoor photography, but using a flash will help to increase the overall quality of the images as long as you know how to use the flash properly.

Should I use flash for indoor photography?

The quick answer is yes, you should use a flash for indoor photography. However, you need to know how to use the flash properly in order for it to help increase the quality of the photos.

Best Lighting for Interior Photography
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About author
Matthew Digati is a professional Real Estate and Architectural Photographer. Matthew has worked as a Real Estate and Architectural Photographer since 2015 and has photographed properties and projects all over the United States.
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