By Maria Fernández
Beautiful interiors are no longer only to be seen in interior design magazines. From restaurants and cafes to hotels and offices, every business, no matter its nature, is making an effort to incorporate some type of style and design to their interiors. We can’t deny there is a big trend to make spaces look simply beautiful. Interiors are one of my favourite subjects to photograph. As in any other type of photography, lighting is the most important factor in an interior shoot. Also having the right kit will help to capture the design, style and look of the space at its best. This trend has pushed interior photographers to innovate and get more creative with their photography. So if you want to learn a little bit more about the rise of interior photography and what kit to use, you are in the right place!
I switched my DSLR for the Fujifilm XT1 not long ago and it’s all I have been using until just recently, when I also added to my kit a new Fujifilm XT2. I use mainly prime lenses for everything except for interiors. My lens kit for interiors consists of:
XF 10-24mm f/4
XF 23mm f/1.4
XF 56mm f/1.2
A wide perspective
The wide angle-corner shot is probably one of the most common interior shots. Pick a corner of the room, get your camera on a tripod, get as close as possible to the wall, use your widest focal length and shoot. I absolutely love my 10-24mm f/4. At 10mm there is hardly any distortion at the edges, so I don’t have to worry about my images looking too fish-eye like. This type of image captures a room in its whole, giving a sense of space and layout. Bare in mind, not all angles will have a good perspective of the room, so check them all before you chose which one makes the room look at its best. Now, I never shoot at f/2, in my wide shots I like having every single detail sharp in focus. No depth of field. In terms of lighting, I try to portray the room as clear as possible in my wide shots. I leave the arty shots for my other two lenses.
Focus on the design
Here is where I start having fun. I might sit on the floor in the middle of the room and simply observe. It’s time to find those statement pieces that the designers have carefully selected and placed in the room. These pieces will reflect the overall feel of the space. Once I have located these pieces, I try to think in 2D and geometric shapes and start framing with my fingers to see if it would work on camera. I use my 23mm f/1.4 to capture those statement details. The focal length is wide enough to capture more than one piece in frame and it also gives me room to play with the depth of field (yes, this is the time to take advantage of the f/1.4).
I am fond of moody looks and atmospheric lighting. Natural light from a window will always be my favourite, but lamps and chandeliers can sometimes play as that statement piece, and make truly beautiful and unique images.
An eye for detail
At last, I grab my XF56mm f/1.2 lens and subjectively pick those little details that I think look beautiful. A jar with flowers, a clock, a candle holder, an engraved wooden table, a picture frame, the bed throw, a beautiful rug, anything works. Just find those details, take your camera off your tripod and get as close as you can. Setting some props around might also help, think of a cup of coffee, an open magazine with reading glasses or even a laptop. Channel your inner documentary photographer and tell a story!
These tips will help to make attractive interiors look their best, but bare in mind not all three steps can be applied to all interiors. There are spaces that won’t look good in a wide shot due to its layout, and it will be handy to look for those statement pieces and details to achieve that attractive look. Other spaces, maybe, won’t have many details, but when you look at the bigger picture, they look outstanding.
So go ahead and look for those things that make interiors unique, create a story and document it.
To see more of Maria’s work, visit www.chiophotography.com
6 thoughts on “Capturing interiors – a photographers guide”
Thanks for the great blog and suggestions for shooting… guessing 10-24 f2 is a typo… or do you have an aftermarket version… I love my Fujinon…
It is a typo! you are right! I’ll let the team know. It is the f/4. Do you shoot interiors with it too?
Wow, where do you got the XF 10-24mm f/2 ? Is it a special edition of the XF 10-24mm f/4 ? ;o)
The writer seems to be confused about the meaning of depth of field: “Now, I never shoot at f/2, in my wide shots I like having every single detail sharp in focus. No depth of field”
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