Have you ever snapped photos of a pretty living room with a big window? Did the photo turn out looking like complete crap? Yeah, that’s happened to me too.
Taking interior photos of apartments and rental homes is pretty darned tough. There’s plenty of great professional photographers in our region with all the equipment and training needed to pull off perfect interior photos (if you need a recommendation, contact us), but for those who prefer to handle it themselves, we’ve gathered some tips to help you snap advertising-worthy pics yourself.
Whether you have a fancy digital camera or are just using your iPhone, there are ways to get around some of the common hurdles to taking interior photos.
PROBLEM: Washed out or too dark photo
The most important rule of thumb for interior pics is never, ever use the built-in flash. Natural light will always be better, no matter which camera you use – particularly the light you get right at dusk.
On your digital camera, slow your shutter speed down v-e-r-y slow to bring in as much light as possible. On your iPhone, focus on a dark spot first, then move the phone back to your shot (it will brighten the photo).
Can’t take photos at dusk? Close the blinds and turn on a few lamps. When possible, position the light behind you so you don’t catch the glowing bulb in your shot.
In a bathroom? Grab a lamp, take off its shade and put it in the bathtub so the light is slightly diffused through the shower curtain.
PROBLEM: Can’t see the whole room
Stand as far back as possible in the room and avoid as much ceiling as possible in your photo. Bring out your inner monkey by climbing into weird spots. Crouching low on the ground and looking up a bit can make a room look bigger and reduce the shadows.
If you have a fancy-pants camera and plan on taking photos often, it might be worth investing in a wide angle lens.
PROBLEM: Uninteresting photos
There’s two things you are trying to accomplish here. First, you want to show the actual unit to a prospective tenant.
So, the photo you took of a nice vase of flowers in the room may have turned out great, but it doesn’t help the renter understand the layout of the room. It’s important to have photos that demonstrate the “flow” of the unit’s layout.
That being said, you’re also trying to make the photos enticing. In addition to your “layout” photos, throw in some interesting shots using angles and different focuses.
Climb up high and lay down low to see which turns out the best. Try snapping close-ups of important details (ornate coving above a doorway? the brushed steel faucets?) with the background slightly out of focus.
PROBLEM: Whatever Emma, they’re still not turning out well
All right, this is where the magic of post-processing comes in.
If you’re using your iPhone, apps like CameraBag, Photogene and Photoshop Express allow you to adjust things like the lighting and contrast. You can also use resizing apps like Crop when you accidentally put your hand in the photo.
Digital camera owners can use more enhanced desktop programs like Adobe Photoshop that have an array of editing photos, filters and aftereffects to make your photos look beautiful.
If Photoshop is too expensive for your taste, GIMP is a great freeware tool with a lot of the same features.
So – now that you’re armed with these photography skills, go take some awesome interior photos for your ads. Hey, maybe you’re the Ansel Adams of apartment photography. I look forward to seeing your masterpieces.