How do photographers learn the basics of photography for interiors?

Shooting interiors and property can be tricky, as there is much to understand as to how lighting works. Besides the composition and the framing of the images, lighting is key, especially when the light outside is harsh, or the inside is dim. Remember, owners and agents want the properties to sell, so great and appealing images are key.

It is important that the client provides an accurate and a transparent brief as to what is required or this can become “messy” and your work will be rejected.

The brief will also influence the quotation as there are certain factors that need to be considered:

  • Location and travel to be taken into account.
  • The condition in which the property is presented to the photographer, it must be clean and styled and ready to shoot. This is not the photographer’s job!
  • The number of visits that will be required to capture the perfect photographs, as mentioned, lighting is everything.
  • The size of the property, both inside and out, as this will determine the number of images and the editing time required.
  • Ensure that the agent is present if the brief is not clear, as most owners and agents are not qualified in their communication as to what is actually possible, and you need to meet the expectations of the brief.

What equipment do you require to shoot real-estate that sells?

To shoot property, you will require the following gear:

A mid-range DSLR and the correct lens. Normally a wide-angle lens with good glass is the answer to most of the images to ensure good composition and range. When purchasing your gear, do not skimp on the lens, as it is the lens that will provide a quality shot, not the camera.

A stable tripod. A tripod is your most valuable tool for indoor shots, as you catch the real light and the mood of the lighting environment. A flash, or any false light will destroy this and result in images that require a lot of editing to restore the mood and temperature of the interior of the rooms. You will also require a shutter release device for smooth and motionless capture to avoid movement on the camera when the shoot button is depressed.  The is essential when shoot on carpets or wooden floors where there might be movement.

Finally, the lighting. Off camera speedlights are your best bet, as they are portable and can be used off camera. These lights will be used in conjunction with a trigger or transmitter, where the flash will be bounced off an umbrella to there is no hard light on the image. Normally, 2 x speed light setup are required to compensate for the light, both inside and out, to ensure balanced color in your photograph. There is nothing worse than the interior looking perfectly exposed, but the background, outside light is blown out and white, especially if selling a view.

My suggestion is that to compose correctly, a good understanding of using these devices, along with the correct settings id required. So, attend a short workshop and customize the and tailor your requirements accordingly. Once you have the know-how,  you will have the confidence to take the desired images in a smooth and consistent form.

What settings do I use for photographing Real Estate?

If you are new to the camera and not familiar with working in manual, my suggestion is that you attend a short workshop or course in order to get accustomed and familiar to the workings and navigation of the camera settings. Make sure that you indicate that your goal is real estate, and that is what you wish to focus on professionally.  A tailored structure will ensure that you understand the settings of your camera, the lighting setups, and the way they operate for shooting both indoors and outdoors. Again, the importance of shooting indoors without flash.

There are three basic setups that you will need to understand.

  • Camera settings with tripod, no flash, in low light
  • Camera settings for daylight, no flash
  • Camera settings compensating low light and bright light, using flash