How to Take Interior Photography like in the Magazines

Would you love to capture stylish interior photography? Do you wonder how magazines make homes look so appealing? We’ll show you how to take your interior photography to the next level with our handy guide.

Perhaps you’ve dabbled in some real estate photography already, or you love looking at home interior photos on social media? The sight of so many stunning images can be overwhelming

So how can you upgrade your shots and take your skills to the next level? Let’s go step-by-step through the process of capturing magazine-worthy interior photography.

1. Preparation Is Key to a Successful Interior Photography Shoot

There is plenty to prepare before you take a single photo. You’ll need to:

  • Check, charge, and pack the right equipment;
  • Pick the best time of day to shoot; and
  • Style the space.
An interior photography image of a spacious kitchen and dining room
Preparation is key to capturing stylish interior images, such as this shot of a kitchen/dining room.

2. Choose the Right Time of Day for Your Shoot

If you have the freedom to choose the time of day to shoot, apps like SunSeeker can help you plan the perfect light.

Unlike most other forms of photography, midday tends to be ideal because the light is strong and indirect (the sun is overhead). It helps avoid any bright sun streaks coming through the windows, providing an even, indirect glow of light.

Lighting is key to creating mode in your interior photographs.

3. Style and Declutter

Your ability to style a space will depend on how much freedom you have in the home you are photographing.

Even if you don’t have the liberty to move items around, or style a space with different décor, there are still things you can do to make sure space looks its best.

If you can’t move anything, take 5 minutes to go around the room and adjust the existing items: straighten and fluff pillows, stack magazines, move cords so they’re less visible, and group similar items on countertops so more flat space is visible.

An interior photography image of a clutter-free white kitchen
This kitchen is free of clutter–a surefire way to create a stylish interior image.

If you can move items around, do everything mentioned above, but also consider moving some things out of the room entirely. Stacks of papers should be hidden or removed from the room. As much clutter as possible should be cleared, and don’t be afraid to move furniture or small items to accommodate for specific angles as you move throughout the room.

4. Choose the Style of Shot That Suits Each Room

While each space is different and will have unique needs, there are several types of shots which are guaranteed to deliver magazine-worthy images.

  • Wide shots at an angle. This is typically the widest shot taken in the room. Focus on walls that have interesting features, such as windows or artwork. These shots will most likely require bracketing to obtain High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging.
A wide interior photography shot at an angle of a bedroom with a wooden bed and a green wall
Focus on walls which have interesting features for wide shots taken at an angle.
  • One-point perspectives (straight-on). These are very popular on social media and often incorporate feature walls with elements like a fireplace, a built-in wall unit, or décor around a large window.
A one-point perspective interior photography shot of a bright and airy living room
One-point perspective (straight-on) shots, such as this living room, are popular on social media.
  • Vignettes. Vignettes are tighter than wide or one-point perspective shots. They tend to show small moments in a room, typically a cluster of furnishings with small décor pieces. The vignettes tend to be the photos that tell the story of a space, create a mood, and show off the styling.
A vignette shot of a kitchen sink with a bronze tap and grey cabinet doors
Vignette shots are typically tighter than one-point perspective and wide shots.
  • Detail shots. These are even tighter than vignettes, and often show things like material, texture, or small decorative items in far more detail. If you’re shooting for a contractor or if there is intricate construction work, details are ideal for highlighting quality finishes on things like tile work or millwork.
A detail interior photography shot of various floor finishes in a bathroom
Detail shots are the tightest type of shot you’ll get, such as these floor finishes in a bathroom.
  • Transition shots. I use the term transitions for photos that show how multiple spaces connect. Showing the next room through a doorway, or opening a slider door to show a patio, can help immerse the viewer in a space. These are also photos which create a flow from one space to another.
A transition shot of an adjoining kitchen, dining area and back yard
Transition shots show how multiple spaces connect, such as this kitchen, dining area and back yard beyond.
  • Outdoor Shots. Outdoor spaces are simply rooms without walls, so they should be treated as such. Don’t forget to style outdoor spaces accordingly and show them in transition photos, so the connection to the outdoors is clear.
An image of a covered patio area with  a large L-shaped outdoor sofa and coffee table
Don’t forget to style outdoor spaces too.

5. Pick the Right Camera Height and Angle

Camera height will vary slightly, but generally speaking, you’ll want the camera to be about 5′ off the floor.

If you have a taller than standard counter height, or lower than usual furnishings, you’ll want to adjust the camera height so items don’t seem distorted.

The use of a tripod is crucial to shooting interiors, especially for wide shots, or any that will require bracketing in post-production.

An interior photography image of a luxury, minimalist bedroom
Use of a tripod is key to achieving level horizons in your interior photography.

When adjusting the tripod, make sure your camera is level. Look through the viewfinder to check your verticals are truly vertical, and in the case of one-point perspective shots, make sure your horizons are straight.

The simple act of straightening your verticals is probably the fastest way to upgrade your interior photos.

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