The Art of Interior Design Photography

Most interior design colleges understand something that many photography students are only just beginning to realize. Interior design needs skilled photographers in order to promote and sell their work in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, as well as, in many different types of print media, where the quality of the photo may make the difference between a sale and a loss of a client to a competitor. There is an art to taking high quality, compelling interior design photos, from what lens you choose to how you position the flash to your ability to take advantage of natural and interior light to create the effect that is desired. There are three keys to taking the best possible photo of any interior space. The first key relates to identifying primary and secondary subjects within the composition of the photo itself. The second relates to how you choose to emphasize the focal point(s) of your interior design photos. The third relates to how you ensure the eye goes first to your chosen subject in any photo you take. Here, learn about the art of interior design photography and decide if this is a branch of the photography field you are interested in entering as a professional photographer.

Key 1

With the first key, you will be looking towards identifying your primary and possibly a secondary focus for your interior photos. You may be photographing a single room, or you may have a series of photographs for a larger space such as a commercial office or a home. In this, you may want to identify a common theme that pulls a set of photographs together, whether it is one of lighting, color, contrast, furnishings or some other focal point. This is a useful technique that can help prospective buyers visualize how the space can relate to their needs and preferences. Here, keys one and three will work together, but here in the first step you want to hone in on the very most compelling or saleable aspect of any space.

Key 2

With the second key, you want to identify how to emphasize the focal point(s) you identified in the first key. Here, you may want to employ some elements of home staging as well as the lighting and lens you choose. For instance, if you want to emphasize a specific furnishing, add a brightly colored painting to the wall behind it, a bouquet of flowers on top of it, or some other type of home staging strategy that will ensure the viewer’s eyes travel there first. You can also use one of several photography techniques to “fade out” the nonessential elements and emphasize what you have chosen as the focal point(s) you want to sell. If you are taking shots of the space in bright and softer lighting to show the different moods of the room, your use of lighting can literally change the personality of the room. For a softer look, use table lamps and wall lighting to soften the edges of the room. For a brighter look, overhead recessed lighting can create a well-lit space throughout.

Key 3

With the third key, you will want to carefully review everything in the room to ensure you don’t inadvertently obscure the point with too many furnishings or conflicting fixtures or accents. One good tip here is to remove everything that doesn’t relate to your first key, and then begin adding back things until you reach the right balance. There are three main ways that an interior design photographer can create a perfectly balanced picture. One, make sure that the lighting is appropriate to the mood you are trying to set without a distracting glare or lighting that is so soft that viewers have to squint to see the details. Two, make sure that you have the right composition to draw the eye to the focal point(s). Finally, number three, ensure that if you are trying to emphasize lines that are either vertical or horizontal that they show up as parallel in your photographs. Here, you will need to pay careful attention to the angle of your camera and lens or your lines may tilt towards or away from each other instead of showing up as parallel. If you pay careful attention to all three keys and ensure that all three elements of balance are addressed, you can look forward to an exciting career as an interior design photographer.

Ellen Farmosa is an architect-turned-photographer who enjoys her work photographing interior spaces from the ground up – literally. She specializes in educational architecture photography.

One Response to “The Art of Interior Design Photography”

  1. Corrine says:

    Interior design seems like such a fun career, but very competitive as I would imagine. There are a lot of things to consider when pursuing this field, standing apart from the crowd and marketing yourself heavily seem like staples.