Beginners Guide

5 Helpful Tips for Interior Design Photography

Tips for Interior Design Photography

Although real estate and interior design photography share many things in common, the approach that you take in the photographic process is quite different.

These tips for interior design photography will both help you take better interior design photos and help you understand the differences between the two types of photography.

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5 Tips for Interior Design Photography

All the best tips for interior design photography have one thing in common: they help you capture the feel of the room rather than just capturing the room itself.

This is an extremely important distinction. Interior designers aren’t too concerned with showing the entire room like most real estate clients. Instead, they’re looking to show off the feel of the space.

Their goal is to design a space the pulls out some sort of emotion from those that enter it. They want it to feel cosy or lively or private or romantic. It’s your job to work with the designer to accurately photograph what in the room translates that idea and feeling.

Maybe it’s the light from the window hitting a plant or maybe it’s the vibrant colored furniture against a blank wall. Find what makes the room unique and focus on highlighting that in your photos.

Think about the images that you see from names like Architectural Digest or Dezeen. They don’t always show the entire room and many times will only focus on a very small portion of the house or room.

The following tips for interior design photography are all based around an understanding of the difference between interior photography and interior design photography. They’ll help you photograph the feel of the room.

1. Slow Down

Interior design photography needs a bit more time and consideration than real estate photography. It can be tempting to try and get as many photos as possible, but resist that urge and instead try to create well thought out images.

This means taking time to stage the photo, looking at the composition, then making micro adjustments until you believe it’s the best image possible. You can’t achieve this type of focus if you’re always looking to capture the next photo.

Slow down and be intentional about composing each image. Doing this will lead to better images and will be greatly appreciated by the client that hired you. They’ll see how much effort you put into making their designs look the best they can and they’ll remember it when they need more photography.

2. Shoot Vertically And Horizontally

tips for interior design photography

If you’ve only shot real estate photography, it might be second nature at this point to only photograph horizontally. This is not at all the case when it comes to interior design photography.

As stated above, you will need to photograph the feel of the room rather than the room itself.  Many times, that means you’ll need to photograph vertically in order to show the room properly.

The image above is an excellent example of how a vertical photo was necessary to show the design. The rug, table, chair, and lamp define the space, and work perfectly when photographed vertically with this depth of field.

Don’t be afraid to turn that camera on its side. This will allow you to get more creative and offer you more perspectives.

3. Pay Attention To The Smaller Details

Interior designers consider every aspect of the space. A great way to show off their personal style is by finding some of the smaller details around the room. Think about the table props they use, the art they include, or things like pillows and blankets.

Once you get the hang of identifying the feel of the room, you’ll be able to find these small details that really help to express what the designer is trying to get across. They’ll notice this too and will rehire you because of it.

A good way to do this is by using a tight lens to force a different perspective. I find that I like to highlight these smaller detail by shooting around 50mm to 70mm. This allows me to see the space differently through my viewfinder and helps to identify the best subjects.

4. Turn The Lights Off If It Helps

Sometimes the light from lamps or fixtures can really throw off the color or the photo. If the bulb is either too bright or too warm of a color, it can seriously change the definition and colors of everything around it.

There will definitely be times where the lamp or fixtures being turned on is necessary since it’s part of the overall feel of the room, but if it doesn’t play a significant roll in the design and it’s giving off harsh colors, just go ahead and switch it off.

5. Collaborate With The Designer

Of all the tips for interior design photography on this list, this one might be the most important. It’s not always possible since the designer might not be at your shoot. However, I’ve found that most interior designers want to be included in the process.

Now, collaborating is always a balancing act. You’ll need to stay confident in your eye for the shot and your ability to capture it. If you have the opportunity though, working directly with the interior designer can help to produce the best images.

Personally, I include the interior designer in virtually every photograph I line up. I love hearing their input and then attempting to incorporate it into the photo. I find it to be extremely helpful and worth it.

That said, there are definitely times where I know they are going to love the photo I’m preparing to capture, even if they’re hesitant or have other ideas. This is when it’s important to be confident in your abilities. Plus, you can always just that two separate images to include their ideas as well.

This is all easier said than done, but if you’re patient and willing to work collaboratively, I think the outcome will be better. 

Additional Resources on Tips for Interior Design Photography

We have a Complete Guide to Interior Design Photography Pricing, so give that a read and price your services appropriately. Don’t undervalue your photography like most of us do when we’re first starting out.

You’ll find more helpful tips for interior design photography as well as other types of photography in 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, Interior Design, or Architectural 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 and Architectural Photography.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you do interior photography?

There are many different ways to capture interiors. Check out our Beginners Guide to read a more in-depth answer.

What settings should I use for interior photography?

An aperture from around f6 to f8, as low an ISO as you can, and a longer shutter speed to make sure you allow in enough light. To do this properly, you will need a tripod.

How do you charge for interior photography?

Check out the following article which answers that exact question:

Complete Guide To Interior Design Photography Pricing

tips for interior design photography
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