Need to capture beautiful interior photos for your design business or blog? These simple interior photography tips are perfect for beginners, and do not require expensive equipment.
Welcome friends! Today I am excited to be sharing my interior photography tips with you. While I am far from a professional photographer, blogging has challenged me to develop this skill over the last few years. I am often asked about photography, editing, and camera equipment on Instagram, and felt it was about time for a blog post!
I am planning to write more on this topic soon, so if you have any specific questions, please leave me a comment below!
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Tips for Interior Photography
1. Use Natural Lighting
You may have heard this one before, but it is worth repeating! Always use natural lighting for interior photography when possible.
Did you know that even dim rooms can be photographed with natural lighting? When shooting with a DSLR, use a tripod and a long shutter speed to allow more light into the camera. When shooting on your iPhone, bring up the exposure by tapping on the screen and sliding your finger up when the sun icon appears.
The goal is soft, even lighting. Avoid harsh sunlight and shadows. Think about the direction the room faces, and shoot at a time of day when the sun is not shining directly through the windows. Use curtains or shades to diffuse light if necessary.
2. Pay Attention to Lines
It is easy to focus on the subject of a photo and neglect composition, but awkward angles can ruin a photo. Here are a few simple tips:
- Shoot straight when possible, versus at an angle. Check that lines–vertical and horizontal lines in the room–look correct in camera. (You will have to shoot into a corner at times, and plenty of my photos are taken at an angle. However, I find that the “straight” photos look the most professional.)
- Position your camera or phone at the same height as the subject of the photo rather than tilting up or down.
- When necessary, correct camera distortion during editing. More on this in tip #6!
3. Declutter and Keep It Simple
Early in my blogging days, I spent so much time prepping rooms, adding accessories and props for visual interest. Over time I realized that a clean and minimal room photographs much better! (This simple shot of our kitchen is from last year’s Summer Home Tour.)
Now, instead of adding pieces to a space, I often remove things! I want my home to look cozy and lived in, but not overly styled. A few books or a hat on a side table look great, but do not create perfect vignettes on every surface.
4. Focus on Wide Angle Shots…
I can only speak from personal experience, but I have noticed that wide angle shots perform better on social media. A full room shot–especially paired with a before photo!–offers a wow factor that grabs your audience’s attention. Wide shots show off a beautiful space and tell the overarching story of your design.
5. …But Don’t Neglect the Details
Of course, details like texture, layering, and materials are what make a room unique, so be sure to snap a few close ups too! I like to sprinkle detail shots throughout my Instagram feed, and often use them in blog posts to set the tone for a space and create excitement about a room reveal.
6. Always Edit
All photos benefit from editing. I use Adobe Lightroom Classic on my computer, and the Lightroom app on my iPhone. (The desktop version costs $10 per month and includes both Lightroom and Photoshop!) I love that I can create cloud-based folders that sync between devices, so that I can start editing on my phone and finish up on my MacBook.
As for editing using Lightroom Classic: I always use the Basic tab (see image above) to adjust my white balance, exposure, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks. I increase texture and clarity just a bit, as well as vibrance and/or saturation.
On the Color tab, I sometimes adjust individual colors. For example, if the plants in the space are too green compared to the rest of the space, you can desaturate the greens.
The other two tabs I use often are the Lens Corrections and Transform tabs. Note that on the Lightroom app, these editing features are organized into different tabs but are still accessible.
The photo above required quite a few edits. I am already planning another blog post that will go into greater detail about editing in Lightroom, but quickly, I will share some additional edits I made to the photo above:
- I used the Spot Removal tool to remove a lens smudge and the motion sensor.
- On the Lens Corrections tab, I adjusted the Distortion slider to correct lens distortion.
- On the Transform tab, I used the Upright tool (Auto) to correct the perspective.
Does this count as a tip? I think so! Honestly, nothing has helped me develop my interior photography skills as much as simple dedication and practice. Carve out a little time for yourself to snap photos, whether on a DSLR or phone, and you will see progress. (Pictured above: our modern traditional guest room reveal! Participating in the One Room Challenge forced me to practice my photography and I learned a lot.)
Equipment for Interior Photography
While having the right tools certainly helps, you can achieve a bright and professional look without spending thousands on high end camera equipment. (This bright and airy shot is from my recent Entryway Styling Ideas post.)
All of my blog photos–and most of my Instagram photos–are shot on my old Canon Rebel T3 (discontinued). The Rebel series offers entry level DSLRs that are budget friendly and perfect for new or amateur photographers. You may find the newest model HERE!
My Rebel has served me well and is a great place to learn the basics and improve your photography skills. Moving forward, I would love to invest in a higher end camera, perhaps THIS ONE, but am currently working with what I have 🙂
A side note on Manual Mode: If you have not tackled manual mode on your DSLR, you may feel intimidated. I certainly did! The fact is that you will have so much more control over your photos if you learn to shoot in manual. Going over the details of camera settings is beyond the scope of this post, but to get started, simply search Google and Youtube for free resources. I have to mention Rachel from Maison de Pax, because her photography series really helped me when I was starting out!
Something I have learned since purchasing my camera: the kit lens–the lens that comes with the camera body–is just not great. I still use my kit lens for my wide angle photos because it is what I have, but I would love to upgrade to a nicer zoom lens. I’m considering THIS ONE or THIS ONE, but need to do a bit more research.
However, I absolutely love my budget-friendly “nifty fifty” 50mm lens! With a low f-stop setting, you can capture beautiful close ups with blurred backgrounds such as this Christmas light bokeh. I use this lens for all of my close and mid-range shots and highly recommend it 🙂
Time to wrap up this post with a few camera accessories!
If you are using a DSLR, you will benefit from a sturdy tripod. A tripod is necessary for shots using a long shutter speed, which allow a dark room to look bright. This one has served me well over several years.
Finally, I sometimes use these reflectors to cast natural light into dark corners. They can be especially useful on cloudy days when you need just a bit more light!
Thanks so much for stopping by today, friends! Which tip did you find the most helpful? Be sure to leave a comment with any questions, or reach out on Instagram. You may also subscribe to my newsletter at the top of this page to stay up to date!