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Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Indoor/Low-Light Photography

Photography Question 

Interior Photography - Simplified?

My husband and I have a company, designing and installing home theaters and entertainment systems. I'd like to take good "snapshots" of the rooms we do, for our Web site. I have a Sony DSC-F707 (fixed lens). To date, my photos turn out dark. I've been putting the camera on the tripod, hitting the self-timer, and hoping that the exposure would be long enough using ambient light - but it's not! In fact, it looks only slightly dark when reviewed through the lens, but when I get the images home, ugh! Do digital cameras experience reciprocity failure? Will some slaves be the answer? Do I need to use an incident meter and manually set my exposures? I try to get in and out of the houses quickly, to avoid annoying the client. I need to find a way to get good pictures, with minimal hassle. Thanks!

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8/3/2007 7:15:26 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Simple interior photography is to use available light and use a flash to enhance or add a little to darker places if needed, instead of the flash being the light for the room. Camera meters can be fooled by uneven lighting and a very reflective object. So if you have manual, use a longer shutter speed - and the tripod.

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8/3/2007 11:46:43 PM

John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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This shot required 5 strobes to balance the light. 4 Norman 200B units and a Calumet Travelite.
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Hi Valerie,
Interior photography is probably the most technically difficult specialty there is in photography, since interiors are so different and require such wildly different lighting techniques. First, I would explain to clients that pictures of your installations are critical to your business, and you simply must take the time to do them properly. Many of my clients make arrangements for me to come in after the installation is finished and spend hours creating photographs they will use to promote their businesses.
Your Sony will probably allow you to change the exposure with an exposure compensation dial, which will be easier to use than a meter. Also, reciprocity is not a big problem with long exposures, but noise can be. Long exposures on my camera, for example, are almost useless because of noise. The best way to approach this would be with several strobes, but I do not know the sync situation with your camera.
You might want to look at this article, which I did for Photo Techniques: I do not know if it will help, but you might want to take a look.
Practice helps! John Siskin

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8/4/2007 4:50:38 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  This may sound stupid but have you made sure your FLASH is turned OFF??? Ambient light will always work, providing your exposure is long enough for the room lighting. If however you are still using your in-camera flash, then the light will fade away as the flash strength weakens over the distance (hence dark shots).
The trick is to take a light reading for the room using ambient light only, then bounce your flash light off the ceiling or similar (slow exposures for sure, so a tripod is a must).

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8/7/2007 4:55:33 AM

Binh Phan   You may consider 2 options:
1. as your camera has a flash hotshoe, so please use a standard external flash with a swivel head. turn the flash head to bounce upto the ceiling and shoot at P mode or manual mode.
2. I'm not sure the F707 support the slow sync option. If yes, you can put the flash on (even with pop-up or external one), turn on the slow sync mode, evaluate the exposure values and ... shoot. the slow sync flash is a kind of balance fill, with add the light and make the color more natural.

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8/13/2007 11:47:54 PM

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