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Photography Question 
Andrea 
 

Interior Design Shooting


I have my first interior design shoot coming up. I'll be shooting with a DSLR, so it's not expected to be right on perfect, but I'm concerned about lighting setups. It will be during daylight hours, with much natural light coming in through certain areas of the house, but not every part. Should I use natural light where possible, but fill in shadows and so forth with my studio lights? Should I use a warm filter over the studio lights to give a warm, natural feel? I want to keep as much ambient light as possible, so should I rig the lights up as high as possible and shoot down? Any advice would be great, thanks!


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12/8/2006 9:23:18 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Use as much of the ambient as possible, with flash as fill, even if it means a very slow shutter speed. Remember that a dark room can be overexposed to a point where it looks bright. So if you have a dark room that you want to use and don't know what to do with flash, try doubling or more the exposure to brighten it.
Available light with wood floors, earth tones usually don't need any extra warming.
If you use flash, bouncing off the ceiling works well for overall spread of light, plus making it look natural. Or if you have it with a softbox, you can use it to the side out of view as if it were another window.
And don't forget to watch out if you need a flash to add light in a room off-camera, to light up a hallway or entryway.


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12/8/2006 11:21:30 PM

 
W.    Hi Andrea<

"I have my 1st interior design shoot coming up. I'll be shooting with a DSLR, so it's not expected to be right on perfect,"

Why not?

"but I'm concerned about lighting setups. It will be during daylight hours, with much natural light coming in through certain areas of the house, but not every part. Should I use natural light where possible, but fill in shadows and so forth with my studio lights."

Yes.

"Should I use a warm filter over the studio lights to give a warm, natural feel?"

That depends. Do you want it to look like ambient daylight spilling in? Then no filters. Do you want it to look like ambient incandescent light spilling in? Then yes, warming filters.

"I want to keep as much ambient light as possible, so should I rig the lights up as high as possible"

If you want to keep as much ambient light as possible, you shouldn't rig any extra lights.

"and shoot down?"

Unless your client specifically requests it, that is a definite no-no! If this an interior design shoot, more likely than not architectural photo rules apply: keep everything straight, horizons horizontal, and perpendiculars perpendicular. A grid in the viewfinder, or a spirit level in the hotshoe can do wonders!

If you're looking for a really HIGH-resolution photo with as little wide-angle distortion as possible you may want to consider stitching (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_stitching) a few exposures together. You could shoot that interior with a standard lens in portrait mode.

If you need to overcome high contrast you may want to consider HDRI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDRI).


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12/9/2006 5:13:24 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Andrea,
I have a few suggestions to make, but first you might want to consider your client. If you are working for an interior designer, keep in mind that they are often difficult clients: very demanding and low budgets. In general, they will need accurate color reproduction. Remember that these images will be used to help get the next job for the designer.
The middle of the day is often a bad time to do this sort of photography. The light from outside will overwhelm the light in the room, so information about the lamps and lighting design in the room will not show up. If you can shoot in late afternoon, you can see through the windows, and the room lights might show up. In a situation like this, the tonal range from shadow to outdoor light is very long. Your camera will probably not be able to handle this without extra light. These should be strobes.
Color-balance the strobes to match the predominant color balance in the room. Use large diffusers as much as possible - possibly 60-inch umbrellas. Your goal is to lighten the shadows. If you add light to the highlights, the light will probably be a small fraction of the light in these areas, but it should be a large fraction of the light in the shadows. I use lights at several angles in order to keep the light smooth and shadowless.
One other thought, Photoshop CS2 has a new feature that allows you to layer several exposures together to achieve greater bit depth. I have not yet played with this but I think it might work very well with interior lighting. You could certainly use Photoshop to repair perspective problems from shooting at an angle. I have done this successfully many times.


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12/9/2006 12:35:36 PM

 
Andrea    Thank you all very much for your help and advice...I'm ready to do this! I'll post some of this shots.


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12/10/2006 12:24:03 AM

 
Ken Henry  
 
 
Hello Andrea
Yes, your question was a fewww days ago.
Here is a simple how-to begining basics to hopefully help give you a starting point.

The project was a very basic quick shoot for an aspiring designer. (Her Uncle is trying to get her into designing and had me take pictures of her home.) Well you can see where this was going. And there was no prep or staging done.

Spur of the moment lets take the pictures now. Ohhhhboy. This was not for quality photos. From these photos the 'aspiring designer' saw that she needs some schooling. The uncle forced $500 into my pocket and I gave it back to the niece when I delivered the 8x10's and she gave me back $100 which I gladly accepted.

I used a Canon A540 PowerShot, all handheld, speed priority two shots... one at one eighth and the next at one fifthteenth second. And on camera flash at full. The settings were daylight and low contrast.

Here are the photos.


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2/9/2007 9:34:19 AM

 
Tareq M. Alhamrani
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/26/2006
  Hey Andrea,
Do you want me to post a shot i've taken for interior decoration of our dining room by using fisheye lens? Circle photo but I likd alot because it was my first shot by using my new camera 1Ds MarkII


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2/10/2007 11:03:06 AM

 
Ken Henry  
 
 
Hi Andrea,
I am back with two more photo lighting projects. The kitchen was all natural lighting, no flash was used. The sideroom I used a 150W household bare lightbulb behind me, and one inside the doorway to the left, you can see the telltale light reflection on the ceiling.

Ken


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2/16/2007 9:45:14 PM

 
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