Aside from pointing and clicking your camera inside the room before and after a makeover or decorating update, what's a girl to do to get awesome photos of her humble abode? Here are some go-to guidelines for taking amazing shots indoors.
One of the biggest challenges of taking pictures indoors is the lack of natural light. Diana Elizabeth, a Phoenix-based lifestyle and editorial photographer, recommends taking pictures during your home's optimum daylight hours. "If you have multiple windows in different directions try to shoot when the light is overhead, so that it's not coming straight in and can be filtered," she says. "That way the light is bouncing from all those windows into the room." If given the choice, have the light coming from behind the camera.
Elizabeth says always (always!) turn the flash off. "The flash will make the photo look harsh." And if you don't have the luxury or know-how of using a DSLR camera in manual mode, then play around with the available natural light. "Draw the curtains a little bit, adjust the blinds or sheer curtains so that they are a little in front so you're able to diffuse the light a little bit."
What to do if there's limited natural light? "Test it out with the lights on and off. The thing is that there's going to be mixed lighting. Indoor lighting has a yellow hue and outdoor lighting has a blue hue, and this can throw off colors. So sometimes people prefer to have all the lights off. But if you need additional lighting then you have to turn on the inside lights," she says.
No matter how steady you think you can hold the camera, it's not going to be still enough to capture enough light indoors. "I would suggest getting a small tripod, even those $5 ones, just to hold your camera still. Set the timer for just two seconds, to really capture the room in its natural light phase," Elizabeth explains. It will secure the camera to eliminate any shaking and help your indoor shots be crystal clear.
"Prep the space as if you were having guests come over," says Elizabeth. Clean the area, fluff the pillows, arrange fresh flowers in a vase and be sure to look at the background to see if anything seems out of place. "You always have to stage. Honestly, the way we live in real life is not always something we want to photograph," she says.
"When you're trying to show something off, there needs to be a focal point. And the best way to do that is with composition," explains Elizabeth. Imagine that your image is divided into nine equal segments by two vertical and two horizontal lines. The rule of thirds (aka composition) says that you should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines or at the points where they intersect. "So you can obviously tell there's additional negative space that will draw your eye to the subject you want to highlight," she says.
Don't just stand there. "People have the habit of just standing and holding the camera to their face. That's not what's going to translate well in a photo," says Elizabeth. She recommends bending down so you're shooting at waist level. This will lower your camera so that you're not just getting a shot at bird's eye level. "This will make your images just pop," she says.
"The most important thing people need to remember is proper exposure. Seeing everything that you want to display in a nice pretty way is going to happen better if it's in natural light," she reiterates. Plus, style it, do something beautiful with it. "The reason why we love looking at catalogs is because they are presented beautifully."
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