Your smartphone has a powerful camera. Why carry another camera around with you when you can take great interior shots whenever and wherever you want, straight from your phone ! Here are six tips to do just that.
1. Shoot straight
When it comes to composing interior pictures, it is often a good idea simply to shoot right down the centre. Using your room’s architectural framework as a guide, point your camera so that it aligns perfectly with one of your walls. This way you can use the horizontal and vertical elements of the room as a sort of framework. Here are some pictures that I took to illustrate this idea:
This technique gives more natural, more harmonious results, and by contrast, if you try to create interest by using diagonal or off-line angles, later cropping can be a real problem.
Experience shows it is usually best to have your camera pointed forward towards a flat surface. There may be times when this doesn’t work, but if you are unsure, it’s always better to go for the simple solution. Or, if you really want a crazy angle – shoot the ‘straight’ version as well.
2. Remove clutter, make the bed & add fashionable items
Your objective is probably not to take a picture of a pile of clutter – so clear up that room first ! Make sure the things you want to see are the focal point, not unsightly clutter.
If you are photographing a bedroom, make sure there are fresh and clean sheets on the bed. Nothing is more unappealing than an untidy bed.
If needed, bring in some fashionable accessories to make the room look better. A vase, designer books, a glossy magazine can do wonders.
3. Use natural light & shoot early or late
When you look at a scene, your eye and your brain interpret it and adjust to the light. They recognise all the different light sources. But a camera doesn’t. So as with so many things in life, keep it natural. Use natural light for your shots, whenever you can.
And this is especially true for interior photography, it is best to use natural light alone. Nothing else will give a natural effect!
And just to be perfectly clear, and even if it may seem a little odd to an enthusiastic amateur – turn all of the other lights in the room off! If the natural light doesn’t seem strong enough, use a tripod. This totally removes movement and enables the camera to have a longer shutter opening, and pick up all of the available light, without any blurring. This is infinitely better than using the built-in flash!
Once you begin taking interior pictures with natural light and nothing else, you will understand why this advice is so precious. Colours will appear fresh and clean, shadows will come from the logical angles, and you will rarely need to adjust the white balance later. In short, everything will be so much more natural!
However, it is best to avoid excesses of light – even natural light – so try not to shoot at times of the day when too much sunlight is shining directly into the room. Clouds, on the other hand, create a natural ‘soft box, diffusing the light and making for a more even composition.
If you are looking for a more dramatic light effect, try shooting early morning or late afternoon when de sun is lower.
4. Move things around
One of the biggest obstacles learned to deal with when shooting inside is, of course, lack of space and lack of manoeuvrability. In smaller apartments or rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, there is often, quite simply, nowhere to go! You are there with your smartphone, not a professional photographer’s bag of tricks, so the only things you can change are the objects themselves.
So move stuff around, take away the things you don’t want – create the maximum of space in this confined area. And, if the apartment is suitable, go outside the door and shoot from there.
Close-ups add a feeling of homeliness, of detail. And they can be of almost anything. If there’s a nicely patterned parquet, take a close-up of it. An old-fashioned fire-place, a brass door handle…
6. Pimp your pictures
You can always modify any picture to make it look better. SweepBright has a whole array of tweaks and filters for adding that extra hint of vibrant colour. So use them. They’re easy to understand and you don’t need to be a pro…