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Taking Your Interior and Architectural Photography to the Next Level

Started by Reyed Mia (Apprentice, DIU), April 20, 2017, 09:24:44 PM

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Reyed Mia (Apprentice, DIU)

Taking Your Interior and Architectural Photography to the Next Level

Be Mindful of Vertical Lines

This is usually the number one issue that rears its head over and over again when people who are interested in taking photographs of architecture or interiors ask me for help. If you want to dive into this type of photography, this rule can't be ignored. When we tilt the camera up or down, vertical lines converge. This leads to the ever-ugly 'building falling backwards' look. If you're shooting for an architectural client, this is especially important, as leaning vertical lines and buildings that look like they're about to fall over backwards will make it appear as if the architect or builder is incapable of keeping a line straight and true, and that the building is not structurally sound.

Take Some Time to Stage and Organize

When we walk through a room without a camera, our brain is very good at disregarding a little bit of clutter to see the big picture. We can overlook some books on a coffee table in disarray, or a few coffee cups and crumpled blankets and say "wow, what a beautiful room!" While we're great at filtering that stuff out while we're just walking through a room, it is a very different story with a photograph of a room. Everything must be placed very deliberately or the flaws of the room become more obvious. Pillows tend to look sad and dejected in a photograph if you don't take a minute to fluff them up, creases and uneven blankets on beds will photograph terribly, crooked carpets can ruin the perfect composition by fighting with your eye and the leading lines of a photograph, and toasters and microwaves (as expensive as they may be) kill the photogenic qualities of most kitchens with ease.

Add and Control The Light

As far as photography is concerned, waiting for the right light is a tried and true method to improving your images. But sometimes, we don't have a choice; sometimes scheduling doesn't work to our favor, or we've got a client that needs the images NOW, and we might not have the luxury of waiting a few hours for the perfect golden light. There are a number of reasons why lighting a space will improve the look and feel of a photograph. When we don't add our own light to a space, we are often at the mercy of the weather, poorly designed interior or exterior lighting, and a number of other factors that are out of our control.

Be Patient

Photographing architecture, interiors, or anything that doesn't move for that matter is an exercise in patience. There are many subjects that we have the luxury of moving to make a better photo: we can take a model into a studio or move them into the shade, we can move a car into better light, we can we can reposition a product for better angles. Not so with architecture: our options can be pretty limited.

But what should we be waiting for? There are three things that I'm always willing to wait for.

1) Most obviously, the right light. Since we're shooting stationary objects, if we really want to make a spectacular shot, we've got to wait for the light to be the best it can if we want to create a jaw dropping photo, even if we're going to add our own light to the scene. If you're not working with lights, waiting until the scene is bathed in golden light or free of shadows can do wonders for your photos. If you are using supplemental lighting, having the best possible natural light combined with well-placed artificial strobe light can create amazingly dynamic images that simply aren't possible otherwise.

2) People, cars, and other objects to get out of the way. Unless we have the luxury of cordoning off a street or area to keep wandering bystanders and cars out of the way, we've got to wait for it to happen by itself. Waiting just five minutes for the area to be clear of people or cars can go a long way to ensuring that the viewer's eye stays on the subject and doesn't wander or get distracted by elements that aren't adding anything to the final photo.

3) Just taking a deep breath and double checking everything. There is often a lot going on in an interior or architectural photograph. Some things that I watch out for include:

• Leaves, trash, other detritus on the ground
• Crooked lampshades, uneven bedspreads
• Misaligned furniture, carpets, and chairs
• Crooked vertical lines in my composition
• Things that, on second thought, aren't adding to the composition
• Reflections of objects that will be difficult to remove in post

Taking a minute to clean these things up will save you endless hours and frustration in Photoshop after the fact. Believe me - I've learned the hard way. I've got a checklist that I take with me on every shoot, which reminds me to slow down and try to catch any problem areas on location so I don't have to tear my hair out over it in post.

Reyed Mia (Apprentice, DIU)
Asst. Administrative Officer and Apprentice
Daffodil International University
102/1, Shukrabad, Mirpur Road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-1207.
Cell: +8801671-041005, +8801812-176600