Shooting Interiors: How to Take Stunning Photos of Your Home
There are a number of good reasons you would want to take good photos of your beautiful home. One is the most obvious: as a keepsake. Maybe you want to immortalize how it looks after you’ve decorated it for the first time or renovated it. Maybe you want to remember how it looks and everything’s proper places. Maybe you want to humble-brag on Facebook or Instagram.
Another is to post online, perhaps because you want to rent it out for short-term stays on Airbnb, or other websites for long-term leases. Or maybe you want to sell your home and need to take photos to post on selling sites or even your own social media account.
Or maybe you were asked to shoot photos of a beautiful home to for a home decor or real estate website or magazine.
Whatever the purpose of wanting or needing to shoot home interiors, you want to make your photos look nice and stand out. So we listed some tips and techniques for playing around with various angles and details of your space to make it look exceptional yet irresistibly inviting.
1. Do your research.
First things first: In order to know what’s already out there that you will endeavor to improve on, you have to look at as many photos of home interiors you can find on the internet, magazines, and even real estate brochures. Take note of the common elements and what makes each one stand out. Both details will help you determine the essentials in every interior photograph, what to avoid so your photos don’t end up looking like theirs, and what you could do to make your own photos more exceptional.
2. Make each space look beautifully lived in.
Once you’ve done your research, you’ll notice that most photos of homes depict impeccable rooms with nary a wrinkle on the sheets or any decor out of place. But what will make your home photos not only unique but also more inviting is if you beautifully depict how it will look once one is staying in it: mess up the sheets (artfully, please), part the curtains, make some coffee and sip it by the window, even leave your used napkin on the table beside it, then shoot as you go along. This will bring the viewer of your photos closer to the relaxing experience one can have in your home.
The operative word is beautiful—it can’t just be some random mess. Careful composition and styling will make your “lived in home” photo belong in a magazine and a carefully curated Instagram feed—and not look like the “after” photo in before and after shots of a house party.
3. That said, feel free to make subtle rearrangements and add props.
Feel free to move furniture and decor around, not just so they look like someone’s in the room, but also to help you take a better photo.
If you need to remove that plant in the corner so you can squeeze in there to capture the entire space, do it. This also goes for unsightly objects like furniture that just don’t fit your framing, decor that ruins the composition, and cords and electrical outlets that stick out from the interiors like a sore thumb. If your photo looks more coherent without them, they have to go.
On the other hand, add where it will help: Statement-making art and coffee table books (open one to a vibrant-looking page) always make a room look more interesting. Plants and flowers always bring life to a room, and in effect, to your photos. Place them on the work desk, in the living area or foyer, or on the dining table. You can also place a bowl of fruits on the dining table as an alternative.
4. Shoot from various perspectives, with different settings, to give you more options for the money shot.
Shoot both high and low: Shooting from above will give you a more dramatic shot and show all surfaces, and shooting while sitting on the floor will give a more inviting view of the bed and the pretty items on the bedside table. Shoot from all four corners of the room, from the room next door, or from the balcony. Shoot things and spots exactly as you see them from where you are standing effortlessly in the room.
Take close-up shots, wide shots, shots from behind something. Don’t be afraid to shoot from every possible distance and angle—you’ll be surprised how amazing some of those unusual photos will turn out. Shoot with different exposures to give you options for when you edit your photos. Always take both portrait and landscape versions of your photos (which will also be handy for your Instagram Stories).
5. Shoot details.
A lot of interior photography employ wide, horizontal shots (usually with the use of wide angle lens) in an effort to show as much of the room in a single image. So after you’ve taken the staple wide angle shots, focus on the details of your home that are instant conversation starters for guests: a nightstand with an elegant lamp and a beautiful frame beside an inviting bedding with fluffy pillows; rich textiles in various prints that define the space; paintings and gilded frames over a grand, inviting mantlepiece.
And remember: Keep your photos completely sharp. Blurring the background may look pretty, but you want to capture as many details of your home in that one shot—not hide some of them—so it should be sharp throughout.
6. Shoot in natural light—in the morning.
Turn off all the lights in the room and put away your flash. The most flattering light for your home interior shots are natural morning light. This light is bright and streams in nicely, and is not as harsh as the noontime sun that is usually overhead or dimming like afternoon light. Let in as much of this light as you can by opening the curtains or blinds. If you have sheer white curtains, leave them closed to help diffuse the light.
7. Remember that you still have to edit your photos.
Even with all the photography techniques, most photos will still need some retouching to make them more beautiful and closer to what you want potential buyers/renters to see for themselves. Photo editing apps, whether for your laptop or your phone, will let you crop unwanted areas and play around with exposure, saturation, and contrast, among other enhancements.
These are just some of the ways you can take ingenious home interior photos, but remember that you may already have your own tricks up your sleeve that you haven’t utilized as much yet. Keep practicing all these techniques and experimenting with more.